Shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the nationwide lockdown, from March 25, 2020, the Sports Ministry mechanisms were set in motion to know the training requirements not only of athletes TOPS, but also the main Tokyo probable list. Olympics (now postponed to 2021) during lockdown.
“A total of 107 athletes (including para-athletes) were mapped for their home training needs. The equipment needs of all athletes were collected and mapped according to the SAI regional centers,” said SAI at Timesofindia.com.
“About 43 requests were received from athletes, half of which were met with the help of ISC regional centers, state governments and NGOs,” he added.
Athletes who have so far benefited from this Sports Ministry initiative include names like wrestler Bajrang Punia, shooters Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker and boxers Lovlina Borgohain and Ashish Kumar, among others.
|Bajrang Punia||Struggle||Training mats and food supplements|
|Sunil Kumar||Struggle||Food supplements|
|Saurabh Chaudhary, Manu Bhaker, Divyansh Panwar, Yashaswni Deswal||Filming||Air pellets, templates, paper targets|
|Sanjeev Rajput||Filming||Gym bike and online consultant nutritionist|
|Lovlina Borgohain, Simranjeet Kaur, Ashish Kumar||Boxing||Dumbbells, weights, barbell rods, etc.|
|Jayanti Behra||Para athletics||Exercise bikes|
“I had requested target papers and pellets and received them on Sunday,” Manu Bhaker told TimesofIndia.com. She is currently training in the range her father built for her at her home in Goria, Haryana.
“SAI delivered them to the Dr Karni Singh shooting range in Delhi, and my father arranged for it to reach us. It took 3-4 days, but I have it now.”
“This is (the pandemic) a situation that none of us saw coming. So I thank SAI for helping me with this so that I can continue to train,” Manu said.
Until now, Bajrang could only wrestle with his fellow wrestler Jitender, who lives with him, only in a standing position. But he was able to obtain kabaddi mats from the SAI Regional Center (Sonipat) as a makeshift arrangement.
“Yes, this was provided to me by the SAI center. It is not a wrestling mat, but the one used in kabaddi. Still, it will help me,” said the former world No.1 wrestler in the 65 kg category at TimesofIndia.com
As the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 developed, the lockdown, which was scheduled to end on April 14, has been extended until May 3. It has caused persistent logistical problems, which are being resolved with the help of the SAI’s regional centers and state governments.
Pistol shooter Abhishek Verma, who is with his family in Chandigarh, has also surveyed SAI about its needs and expects the desired equipment to be delivered after May 3.
“TOPS (officials) called to ask if I needed anything drill or shooting related. I gave them my requirement of electronic target (machine) and SCATT (simulation shooting software). the lockdown is lifted (effective May 3), Verma told Timesofindia.com.
“This is an ongoing process as it depends on local restrictions (from the state government). As the situation improves, attempts will be made to achieve it,” SAI said in reply.
Many athletes, however, are in various SAI centers during the lockdown, such as javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra (NIS Patiala), weightlifter Mirabai Chanu (SAI Bengaluru) and the men’s and women’s hockey teams (SAI Bengaluru).
It has been learned that the Sports Ministry has requested permission from the Interior Ministry, so that the athletes currently in the SAI facilities can resume their training after May 3.