New Delhi [India], May 11 (ANI): Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju on Monday spoke to all the nine elite weightlifters and chief coach Vijay Sharma and sought their feedback on the resumption of training in a phased manner.
Athletes are currently staying at Sports Authority of India's (SAI) National Centre of Excellence in Patiala. All training of athletes has been suspended since March 25 due to the coronavirus crisis.
The meeting was attended by Ravi Mital, Sports Secretary, Sandip Pradhan, Director General, SAI, Sahdev Yadav, Secretary-General, Weightlifting Federation of India and other senior officials.
Speaking to Rijiju individually, weightlifters Mirabai Chanu, Jeremy Lalrinnunga, Rakhi Halder, Ajay Singh, Gurdeep Singh, Satish Shivalingam, Sneha Soren, Achinta Sheuli and Raja Muthupandi, said that they would like to resume active training since the environment inside the SAI training centre is absolutely safe with no one from outside being allowed entry and those housed inside not going out of the campus.
Currently, the athletes are doing basic fitness exercises in isolation of their rooms.
Chanu, during the interaction, said she is eager to resume training so that she can give her best in the next year's Tokyo Olympics.
"We are in a safe and protected environment here in the SAI training centre. We are doing basic fitness, but I am eager to resume active training so that I can give my best in Olympics in Tokyo," Chanu said in a statement.
Rijiju said that SAI has already formed a committee to create a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) to be followed strictly during training and is hopeful that the report will be ready soon.
"I understand that our weightlifters need to get back to active training in view of the upcoming Olympics. We have formed a committee at SAI to create an SOP to be followed strictly during training. We have included medical experts in the committee so that health-related precautions are included in the SOP," Rijiju said.
"The feedback that I have taken from athletes and chief coach today will be used to draft the SOP for weightlifting. I am hopeful that the report of the committee will be ready soon and we will be able to come back to you with a decision regarding the resumption of training. We want our athletes to start training but it cannot be at the cost of their health. We must take all necessary precautions before taking a decision," the minister added. (ANI)