New Delhi: Elimination of low-ventilation change rooms, disinfection of training equipment after every use, a bar on sparring for now, and usage of gyms in shifts – these are some of the measures to tackle the COVID-19 threat that the Sports Authority of India is proposing if training of athletes resumes later this month.
The SAI has formulated a detailed draft of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to be followed before reopening of its training centres by the end of this month, as suggested by Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju but subject to clearance from the Health and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
A six-member committee, headed by secretary Rohit Bharadwaj, has formulated a 33-page document, which is yet to be passed by the Sports and Health Ministry.
The document proposes making the Arogya Setu app mandatory for all athletes and staff, strict social distancing at training venues, use of PPE kits by medical practitioners on duty, increased sanitation measures and stringent supervision of athletes’ health among a slew of measures to counter the threat posed by the deadly virus.
“The committee has outlined a broad SOP but it is not final. It is the first draft which is yet to be vetted by the Sports Ministry as well as the Health Ministry. We can’t expect the SOP to be passed in totality,” a SAI source said Friday.
SAI has sent across the draft to the National Sports Federations (NSFs) to seek their view on the recommendations.
“In the end, the resumption of training will depend on MHA’s guidelines. If the MHA bars sporting activities in its upcoming guidelines to be issued post lockdown 3, like it did in the previous guidelines, the Sports Ministry can’t resume training,” the source added.
The country will enter the fourth phase of the lockdown from May 18 but significant relaxations are also expected.
“The SAI acted in a proactive manner and laid down the SOP in case the MHA gives a go ahead for training,” the source said.
The SOP suggests resumption of training in small groups, which the Indian hockey players had already stated Thursday in their online meeting with Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.
The SOP calls for COVID-19 testing of all athletes who would be returning to the training facilities.
“The returning athletes shall be quarantined till the test results clear them of COVID-19 contraction. Final clearance should be provided by the doctor-in-charge at the respective SAI centres,” the SOP said.
“Use of the fitness equipment shall be permitted only while wearing gloves and face mask and under consequent use of disinfectants afterwards. Use of the fitness room shall be permitted only in small groups of maximum five people under observance distancing norms,” it added.