All national camps, except for those where athletes are preparing for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, were on Tuesday postponed until further order in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said the academic training at the National Centre of Excellence and Sports Authority of India Centres will also be suspended. The Olympics are scheduled for July-August this year.
“Due to Covid-19, SAI has decided that: All National camps shall be postponed except for those where athletes are being trained as part of Olympics #Tokyo2020 preparation,” Mr. Rijiju tweeted.
“Academic training in National Centre of Excellence & STCs shall be suspended till further order,” he added.
Mr. Rijiju said the move is temporary and precautionary and training will resume if the situation caused by the pandemic improves.
“This is just a temporary and precautionary step for the safety of our sportspersons. I appeal all our young athletes not to be disheartened. We will resume the academic trainings soon after assessing the situation.”
In India, the shooting World Cup and Indian Open Golf has been postponed so far, while badminton’s India Open was also deferred after the Badminton World Federation (BWF) suspended all World Tour and sanctioned events.
A few days back, the government had issued two advisories regarding training and competition of athletes.
The ministry had told those, who were training and taking part in the events abroad especially for Tokyo Olympics qualifiers, to continue their competitions.
Mr. Rijiju had also clarified that there was no ban on national events with the advice that they be held without spectators.
The Athletics Federation of India is going ahead with the Indian Grand Prix series, from which athletes can qualify for the Olympics, starting March 20 without spectators.
Earlier, the SAI Centre in Bengaluru was shut down but those training inside were allowed to stay there and continue training.
National sports bodies such as the BCCI, the Boxing Federation of India and the All India Football Federation have decided to work from home.
More than 100 people have so far tested positive in India apart from three deaths.
The disease has led to either cancellation or postponement of all sports events the world over in an Olympic year.
More than 7,000 people have been killed globally by the deadly virus, which was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The number of infected has swelled to more than 175,000.
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