IOA President Narinder Batra is optimistic that despite a spike in the COVID-19 cases in the country, the much-delayed 36th National Games will be held as scheduled from October 20 to November 4 in Goa.
Batra said he hopes the National Games will be a perfect preparatory platform for the Tokyo Olympics-bound Indian athletes. The 2020 Tokyo Games were postponed to 2021 because of the COVID-19 outbreak, which is wreaking havoc worldwide, claiming nearly 77,000 lives. "The launch event of the 36th National Games Goa was held on 31 January 2020. I hope the Games which will be held from 20 October to 4 November 2020 will reinvigorate the entire Indian sporting community and provide the Tokyo bound athletes a high level of competition at home," Batra wrote in IOA's newsletter.
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In President's address to the NSFs, Batra wrote that in this unprecedented health crisis, the well-being of the country's athletes should be the priority of Indian Olympic Association (IOA). "As you are all aware, an unprecedented situation confronts the world today due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These are testing time and we need to be brave and disciplined," he wrote. "In these challenging times, the safety and well-being of our athletes is of utmost importance and all support must be extended to ensure the same."
Batra asked all the National Sports Federations (NSFs) to start rejigging their plans for Olympic preparations and implement the same once the situation improves. "I request all NSFs to start planning towards our Olympic goal once the remaining Olympic qualification events are announced and the prevailing situation due to COVID-19 normalises," he said.
"I look forward to detailed discussions with you all in the upcoming IOA Preparation Committee Meeting which will be held at a suitable date to reassesses the preparations for the Olympic Games." The IOA chief also thanked and congratulated all its members, NSFs and State Olympic Associations for generously donating towards the PM CARES Fund to fight against the pandemic.
The 36th National Games have witnessed multiple delays because of non-completion of the requisite infrastructure in Goa. The last edition of the Games was held in Kerala in 2015.