BENGALURU: Many institutions and industries are bearing the brunt of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Residential sporting facilities too are no different. Many have suspended operations for the well-being of their athletes. Vijay Lancy, who currently works alongside badminton coach Anup Sridhar at their academy that trains at the Karnataka Badminton Association (KBA), has also put a halt to their training. This comes after the KBA suspended operations, following guidelines issued by the health ministry. Speaking about the professional athletes, he says, “We have given them a fitness schedule that can be followed without going to the gym. Their schedule is going to get affected but there is a reason for that,” says Lancy, adding that facilities are shut for a week and should it extend beyond, the athletes will be given more fitness schedules.
Lancy added that while alternatives for professional athletes have been issued, students and coaches have been instructed to follow safety orders. “Everybody is going to be affected across all industries, we just hope it’s not too long and we have to respect the decision. It is certainly going to affect professional players because they cannot train as much but on one hand lives are going, so we just have to sit back for now,” he explains.
Former badminton player and coach, Vimal Kumar who currently heads the Badminton Academy at Padukone Dravid Centre of Excellence, reflected on the concern stating that athletes are affected but the procedures in place need to be followed. “We have given the athletes a complete break,”he says.
However, JSW’s Inspire Institute of Sport (IIS) located at Vijayanagar, Karnataka, hasn’t shut their facility and is currently operating with training happening through the day. The institute has taken strict precautionary measures since all the athletes and staff live in a closed community at IIS and the neighbouring JSW Vidyanagar township. The athletes and staff who were not on campus as of March 13 and were planning to return, however, have been advised to stay home.
When asked whether any foreign national coaches are still at the facility, Rushdee Warley, chief executive officer, Inspire Institute of Sport, says, “Yes, there are some foreign coaches here currently, they are staying here on campus. A few coaches who were travelling for the past couple of weeks have been advised not to come to the campus until further notice. Two of our foreign staff were away and are currently self isolating themselves in India away from IIS. They will return here after 14 days and will be tested again to ensure that they are negative for COVID-19.”
Warley added that no Olympic-bound athlete is currently training at the facility and they are speaking to their Olympic qualifiers and potential qualifiers to provide them with a safe and sanitised training environment at IIS. “Since the facility hasn’t shut down, all the maintenance staff is on duty and have been provided with masks as a precautionary measure. We are maintaining strict protocol with regard to their health and well-being,” he says, adding that the athletes present at the facility are training as per their schedule and are meeting with the concerned authorities periodically to decide on a further course of action.