New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) The Sports Ministry on Thursday advised National Sports Federations (NSFs) to suspend all sports events, including competitions or selections trials, until April 15 in view of the coronavirus pandemic that has brought most sporting activities in the country to a grinding halt.
“Today we have issued another fresh order from the ministry that all sports events and training centres will remain closed till April 15,” Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju told reporters. “We have also ensured that no athletes or technical staff travel from one place to another. Any mass gathering is completely prohibited. Even the hostels in training centres are closed.
“The only exception is for those who have qualified for Olympics or on the verge of qualifications. They are very critical because if they miss out on anything it will have a huge impact on our preparations for the Tokyo Olympics. So only these athletes and their coaches are allowed to practice in their designated national camps. For that also the coming of outsiders into their camps is strictly prohibited.”
The ministry’s advisory, which was also marked to the Indian Olympic Association and the Board of Control for Cricket in India, stated that in the case of athletes who will be training for the Olympics, no exposure to athlete will be allowed from outside the campus where training is underway.
The advisory also said that coaches or training staff who are currently not residing in the camp will not be allowed to interact or mingle with trainee athletes without following the quarantine protocols.
So far, over 160 confirmed cases have been reported of the virus that has also led to three deaths.