National Games in Goa postponed indefinitely due to Covid-19 pandemic | More sports News


NEW DELHI: The much-delayed National Games, to be held in Goa was on Thursday postponed indefinitely owing to the coronavirus pandemic. The Games was scheduled to be held from October 20 to November 4. The multi-discipline event was originally planned for a November 2016 start, but had since gone through a series of delays and postponement partly because of the state government’s reluctance to host the Games and later due to the non-completion of infrastructure.
Manohar (Babu) Ajgaonkar, Goa’s Deputy Chief Minister and Tourism Minister, made the announcement in Goa. “National Games organising committee has decided to postpone the National Games due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The committee (OC) will hold meeting in September end to decide on fixing new dates for the Games. The state government will take advice from the union sports ministry and will be needing four months advance notice to organise the Games,” he said.
TOI had exclusively reported on April 28 that National Games could be postponed due to the Covid-19 even as the state government had set May 31 deadline to take a call on the event’s conduct. Goa sports secretary, Ashok Kumar, had, in April, written to IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta that the situation around the Covid-19 spread in the country would be assessed by the Games’ OC until May 31 following which a “suitable decision” will be arrived at on the conduct of the Games.
Following an unfavourable advise from the concerned stakeholders and the reluctance of national sports federations (NSFs) to make their athletes travel during the Covid-19 situation, the organising committee decided to postpone the Games for yet another time until the next year. Many venues like tennis, swimming, lawn bowls and squash are still incomplete, which also played a part in the decision-making. Many athletes would be busy preparing for the now-postponed Tokyo Olympics, scheduled for July 24-August 9, and they would not be looking to disrupt their training for the Games during the end part of the current year, with several Olympic qualifiers slated to be held in January-February next year.
An IOA official said that under present circumstances involving Covid-19, hosting of the Games can’t be considered an immediate priority and the health and safety of the country’s athletes can’t be compromised.
It’s expected that the Games might now take place in October-November next year only after the Tokyo Olympics as most of the athletes will be busy either competing in the Olympics qualifiers or their training schedule. Goa had earlier proposed dates between March 30 to April 14 this year for the Games, but later expressed its inability to host the event owing to the general elections. The last edition of the Games was held in Kerala in 2015.

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