SAI Issues SOPs For Resumption Of Sport After Lockdown

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New Delhi: The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has issued a 45-page Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for resumption of sport in India after an almost two-month lockdown due to Covid-19.

Union sports minister Kiren Rijiju announced that sports facilities are open again. “Khelo India Phir Se. All stadium and sports complexes are open again. However health of athletes and other stakeholders comes first. A detailed SOP has been prepared to ensure that,” he tweeted.

A six-member SAI panel headed by secretary Rohit Bharadwaj has framed the guidelines.

The SOP lists permitted activities in 11 sports—athletics, hockey, weightlifting, archery, badminton, boxing, cycling, fencing, shooting, wrestling and table tennis.

It also mentions restrictions. In athletics, use of the high jump/long jump/triple jump/pole vault pit is permitted only if available for personal use. Baton exchange is barred during relay training. Tackling is prohibited in hockey while badminton training is restricted to singles to ensure social distancing.

In boxing, sparring and even use of the ring won’t be allowed. Only skill training using personal bags will be allowed, adhering to minimum social distancing of 2 metres. Wrestlers will have to use personal dummies (name tagged) for sparring, one wrestler per mat at a time. “Mats/dummies to be sanitised pre and post every use and human sparring of any form or contact is prohibited,” says the SOP. Shooters can do dry and live training with alternate gap (in the range) but there shall be no equipment or ammunition sharing.

Athletes, chief coach as well as the respective national federations must sign consent forms acknowledging the risks associated with the resumption. “All activities should be consistent with the government guidance regarding health, social distancing and hygiene,” it says.

The SOP also provides for quarantine facilities, for existing and new/returning athletes and staff in a building separate from the hostel.

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