CHENNAI: The wait for athletes to get back to training has become longer. Three days after the state government announced that sports complexes and stadia are permitted to open without spectators, the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) said it has not got permission to reopen facilities till July 31 across the state. These facilities had opened temporarily before the June 19 lockdown.
The Covid-19 tally is rising in the state, with Chennai alone witnessing more than 62,000 cases. SDAT wants to tread with caution before reopening. “We have received orders not to reopen till July 31,” said a top official. “We don’t want to risk anything. If the lockdown is lifted in August, we will reopen the complexes and stadia.” Standard operating procedures submitted by SDAT last month has been approved by govt.
Worried about the impact of a prolonged time away from sports on players, V Baskaran, president of Chennai Hockey Association, felt the government can reopen stadia for training at least. “National and international players may find it easier to get back to rhythm after a hiatus,” opined Baskaran. “Juniors will find it difficult if there is no practice for three to four months.”