Weightlifters ask sports minister to allow resumption of training

Updated: May 12, 2020, 08:39 IST | PTI | New Delhi

Training has been suspended across Sports Authority of India (SAI) centres since mid-March to contain the COVID-19 pandemic

Chanu Saikhom Mirabai
Chanu Saikhom Mirabai

Country's top weightlifters, including former world champion Mirabai Chanu, on Monday requested Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju to allow resumption of training at the earliest, insisting that their practice hall is big enough to ensure social distancing.

Training has been suspended across Sports Authority of India (SAI) centres since mid-March to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Rijiju interacted with the weightlifters, who are currently stationed at the National Institute of Sports, Patiala, in a video conference, seeking their feedback on resumption of training. "We all requested him to resume training as soon as possible because we need weight training. We have been working out but weight training is necessary for us," said Mirabai.

Kiren Rijiju
Kiren Rijiju

Echoing Mirabai's concern, national coach Vijay Sharma said social distancing can be ensured at the training hall in Patiala. "It's been almost two months since training was stopped. All the muscle mass has finished. The campus is sealed no one is coming inside or going out, so we can resume training," Sharma said.

"Our training hall is very big we can easily maintain a five-metre distance between each weightlifter. We have 16 platforms and there are only nine weightlifters so we can easily maintain social distancing while training," he added.

Rijiju said the views expressed by the lifters will be used to create a Standard Operating Procedure for training. "I understand that our weightlifters need to get back to training. The feedback that I have taken from athletes and chief coach today will be used to draft the SOP for weightlifting," he said in a statement.

"We want our athletes to start training but it cannot be at the cost of their health. We must take all necessary precautions before we take a decision," he reiterated.

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