After 63 days, 2 premier stadiums in New Delhi reopen for SAI trainees | More sports News

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NEW DELHI: The gates of the city’s two most prominent stadiums, Jawahar Lal Nehru and Major Dhyanchand, were thrown open on Tuesday, after 63 days.

Bringing its trainees out of their sporting exile, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) — the custodian of the two stadiums — decided to resume both indoor and outdoor activities at the JLN and Dhyanchand premises in archery, table tennis, badminton and lawn tennis disciplines, following the health, hygiene and social distancing protocols. These disciplines have been chosen as they come under ‘no-contact sport’ category which requires minimal sharing of training equipment.

Only athletes above the age of 10 years and registered with SAI prior to the lockdown can come for practice after pre-booking their one-hour slot. No new trainees or those part of the SAI’s ‘come and play’ scheme can access the facilities for now, SAI officials told TOI.

Before the reopening, the stadiums were disinfected and sanitised in keeping with the guidelines issued by the Centre. Thermal checks and hand sanitisation of every athlete and accompanying parents was done at entry gates. Equipment and shoes were also sanitised. Wearing of mask has been made mandatory and nobody will be allowed in without masks. Athletes can take off their masks only while playing. Wearing gloves while exchanging badminton shuttles, table tennis and lawn tennis balls has been encouraged.

Acording to government guidelines, only athletes above the age of 10 years can resume training in slots of one hour which needs to be pre-booked online. Sports activities at the Indira Gandhi Indoor (IGI) stadium and Karni Singh Shooting Range (KSSR) in Tughlakabad will resume from next week.

Shooting camp for elite Indian shooters preparing for the Tokyo Olympics is also expected to commence with the reopening of the facility. However, the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee swimming complex will remain closed as per the home ministry order as swimming activities are still prohibited nationwide.

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