IOA President Narinder Batra on Saturday said the Tokyo Olympics qualification events, postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic, will be held once the health crisis is resolved and asked the National Sports Federations (NSFs) to prepare a list of such tournaments in their respective sports.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President also asked the top brass of all the NSFs to share calendar of their athletes’ preparations for the Tokyo Games, pushed back by one year to 2021 in view of the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. “The qualification events which were postponed will happen again at revised dates once this virus issue is resolved. Draft tentative planning for that. Please share details of all the qualification events yet to happen in your sport,” Batra wrote in a letter to the presidents and secretaries of all the NSFs.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach on Thursday had a conference call with its members in the aftermath of the postponement of the Olympics. Batra is an IOC member as well as the president of International Hockey Federation.
Batra also said the IOA and NSFs need to plan on the extension of contracts of the coaches whose tenures were to end this year. The contracts of many coaches, including those from abroad, were to end by August when the Tokyo Games were to end before they were postponed to next year. “As you are already aware that 2020 Olympics is postponed to 2021. We now need to plan for: Extension of Contracts for HPD (High Performance Director), coaches, support staff etc till end of 2021 as many such contracts are ending in 2020, the process needs to start as soon as possible,” the IOA chief said.
“Draft training calendar for Athlete’s preparation for 2021 Olympics. Please update on the present location of the athletes and their health,” he said in the letter with copies marked for Sports Ministry and Sports Authority of India. He said under the present circumstances, it will be very difficult to give any confirmations “but this is just to get everyone on same page”. Nearly 80 Indian athletes have so far qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in seven sports — athletics, archery, boxing, equestrian, hockey, shooting and wrestling. The IOA was expecting to rise the number to more than 120.