SAI ensuring athletes receive equipment to train despite nationwide Covid-19 lockdown

Image Courtesy: SAI/Shutterstock

Even though all sporting activities have faced cancellation or postponement, sportspersons and athletes are never on leave from their training, even in present times when they have to train in their homes. Now, Sports Authority of India (SAI) has taken a new initiative to assist the athletes in their personal drills, and has decided to provide necessary training equipment and dietary supplements right in their home, as going to a training centre right now is out of question.

Image Courtesy: SAI/Shutterstock

While a number of athletes are now staying in SAI training centres, such as Mirabai Chanu,  Neeraj Chopra and even the Indian men and women hockey teams, many are isolated in their homes, without being able to continue their training. The initiative will ensure that the athletes remain in their peak performance even when India faces the challenge against the novel Coronavirus pandemic.

The initiative was taken as a joint decision by the SAI and Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) Secretariat, who have ensured that the athletes can continue training in their homes even after lock down in lifted, as there can still be a high risk of COVID-19 contamination afterwards.

More than a hundred athletes, including TOPS athletes and those who are probable competitors for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics next year, and are currently locked in their homes, have been planned to receive the equipment, as confirmed by SAI.

“A total of 107 athletes (including para-athletes) were mapped for their requirements towards their training at home. The equipment requirements of all the athletes were collected and mapped according to SAI regional centres,” SAI revealed in a statement to The Times of India.

“Around 43 requests were received from the athletes, half of which have been fulfilled with the help of SAI regional centres, state governments and NGOs,” the statement added.

Till now, the athletes who are confirmed to have received the equipment are-

  • Wrestling: Bajrang Punia (Training mats and dietary supplements), Sunil Kumar (Dietary supplements)
  • Shooting: Saurabh Chaudhary, Manu Bhaker, Divyansh Panwar, Yashaswni Deswal (Air pellets, templates, paper targets), Sanjeev Rajput (Gym bicycle and online consultant nutritionist)
  • Boxing: Lovlina Borgohain, Simranjeet Kaur, Ashish Kumar (Dumbbells, weights, barbell rods)
  • Para-athletics: Jayanti Behra (Exercise bikes)

Equipment for more athletes are on their way, as  Indian sport shooter Abhishek Verma said that he is expecting his training kit to be at his doorstep after 3rd May, when the current lock down is scheduled to be lifted.

“TOPS called to ask if I need anything related to exercise or shooting. I have given them my requirement of electronic target and SCATT (simulation shooting software). They said they will try to provide that as soon as the lockdown is lifted,” the 2019 ISSF World Cup gold medallist told The Times of India.

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