The core group of athletes stuck at Sports Authority of India (SAI) centres at Patiala and Bengaluru since March 25 due to the nationwide lockdown will resume outdoor training on Monday, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) said.
Javelin throwers Neeraj Chopra and Shivpal Singh – both have qualified for the Olympics – are in Patiala, besides the men’s and women’s 4x400m relay team and Hima Das, who has switched from 400m to 200m.
“The athletes will start with general fitness workouts for 10 days. The basic concept is to go out and walk and jog. It will be first phase of transition from indoors,” AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said on Saturday.
“The coaches will monitor each individual and after 10 days will plan the next phase of training. We don’t want to rush. The athletes have been indoors for nearly eight weeks. Rushing back to hard training doesn’t make sense.”
Shivpal is excited. “It’s a huge relief to know we can go out and play,” he said. Training will be in batches in the morning (6 to 9am) and evening (5 to 8pm).
The five-member race walking team, including KT Irfan – he has qualified for Tokyo – and the Asian Games 1500m champion Jinson Johnson are among those in SAI, Bengaluru.
Athletes in SAI campuses must follow the sports ministry’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), maintain social distancing and can’t use the gym. “Free hand exercises will be the norm in the first 10 days. They will use the grassy stretch and synthetic track but will not interact with SAI officials or visit the office area in the campus,” he said.
AFI has decided not to take part in international meets this year. The rescheduled domestic circuit will start in mid-September.
Boxing camp from June 10
The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) has proposed starting the national camp for men and women in Patiala from June 10. It made the decision after a video conference with top boxers and support staff.
“All the boxers who have qualified for Tokyo attended and said they are not able to train properly at home. They also raised issues about travel. We clarified that air travel is resuming and logistics will be taken care of,” BFI executive director RK Sacheti said.
“We will send a formal proposal to SAI to give the go ahead. The arrival date of boxers in Patiala will be June 10 following which they will be tested and quarantined as per SAI SOP.”
Nine boxers (5 men, 4 women) have qualified for Tokyo. Around 30 boxers, including probables for Olympic qualifiers, are likely to be called up in the first phase. There will be no sparring, high intensity training or use of the ring for now.
“There won’t be problems in resuming training protocols. Focus will be on individual training in the beginning. Our boxers have been training at home, but it is difficult to monitor. They need to begin proper training now,” said women’s head coach Ali Qamar.