National camps will go on, can’t put Olympic-bound athletes at risk: Kiren Rijiju


The training of Olympic bound athletes has been halted since the novel coronavirus outbreak in the month of March. With the Olympics being postponed to the next year, sports minister Kiren Rijiju has stated that the camps should go on, as the country cannot risk elite players.

In a recent interview with TOI Kiren Rijiju lights up the COVID-19 rising cases and the lockdown.

“We are passing through an extraordinary situation due to the pandemic and therefore, the government’s approach to commencement of training for our Olympics-bound-athletes would be to tread with caution, keeping their health and safety in mind,” Kiren Rijiju told TOI in an interaction.

“However, we cannot put them at a disadvantage by delaying their training. Therefore, camps will have to be held, while making a thorough situation appraisal. Decisions will be made on a case-to-case basis. The lockdown in many states is an added challenge, like in Bengaluru, where our athletes have not been able to join the camp. We have to work keeping all these factors in mind,” he added.

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Giving brief introductions about the camps, Rijiju said that most of the Olympic-bound athletes are at the camps, waiting for a signal from authorities.

“The camps are being resumed in phases as per the situation in the states. The boxers are already in Patiala but are going through an extended quarantine. Once the quarantine is over, they will resume training as per the SOP laid down,” he further revealed.

“The shooting facility has been opened up and all Olympic bound shooters are free to resume their training. The other camps will surely start but the training of athletes bound for Tokyo is our priority at this juncture,” Rijiju further added.

When asked about the steps taken by the ministry to get the recognition of NSFs back he said, “The issue is in the court and the judicial process will follow its course. I am hopeful that in a month or two, the government will be able to recognize the NSFs again. The government has asked the federations concerned to take corrective measures immediately.”

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