Green light for elite athletes from Tamil Nadu to train at sports facilities

SDAT is also mulling opening sports complexes and stadia for national and state-level athletes in the next fortnight.
Indian table tennis star Sharath Kamal (Photo | PTI)
Indian table tennis star Sharath Kamal (Photo | PTI)

CHENNAI: Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu’s (SDAT) has set the resumption ball rolling. As reported by this newspaper last week, the body has given the nod to elite sportspersons in their scheme —  Mission International Medal Scheme (MIMS) — to use its facilities for fitness training from Monday. The decision was taken after it sought Chennai Corporation’s permission.

The standard operating procedures (SOP) the body submitted to the state government last week are yet to be approved. Thermal checking, sanitisation and no sharing of equipment are a few protocols that will be followed.

“We are permitting elite sportspersons to use our facilities from today (Monday), after getting the go-ahead from Chennai Corporation Commissioner,” said a top SDAT official. “We have sent a circular. It is now up to the players to decide if they want to use our facilities.”

However, not all athletes are keen on using the facility at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai. Joshna Chinappa uses SDAT’s Indian Squash Academy for training only. Fitness activities are done at home or gym. Paddler A Sharath Kamal is wary of using the stadium just for running and doing physical workouts, as it is also used as a waiting point for migrant workers returning home. Around 1,000-1,500 migrant workers come to the stadium every day. With Chennai showing no signs of flattening the curve, some athletes do not want to risk their health.

Page grab from June 5 edition.
Page grab from June 5 edition.

Sharath feels that for a racket sport like table tennis, using the table is more important. But he thinks going to the stadium is a point of concern.

“I really doubt if I will use the facility for fitness training alone. I have my own set-up at home. We have our centre at Nehru stadium, and we have requested SDAT to let us practice there. But they said it will take a while since the stadium is being used as a shelter point. I want to wait until they open the table tennis court.”

SDAT is also mulling opening sports complexes and stadia for national and state-level athletes in the next fortnight.

The final decision will be taken after the government approves its SOP.  “Once it is, we will think about opening the premises for the next set of athletes — national and state level — after two weeks or so. But even then, we have to make sure that there is no crowd, especially in Chennai,” added the official.

TNSA seeking June 15 restart

Tamil Nadu Sailing Association (TNSA) is yet to get permission from Chennai Port Authority to begin training. But it is hopeful of resuming practice from June 15. The body sent a request on Saturday to allow elite sailors to train at the club.

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