Top sportspersons in Chennai have been given the nod to continue training and utilising their fitness training facilities under the scheme of MIMS (Mission International Medal Scheme), courtesy of Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT). The body has submitted SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) to the state government last week which are yet to be approved. Preventive measures such as sanitation, thermal checks and restrictions on sharing of equipment are some protocols that will be followed.
An SDAT official told New Indian Express, “We are permitting elite sportspersons to use our facilities from today (Monday), after getting the go-ahead from Chennai Corporation Commissioner. We have sent a circular. It is now up to the players to decide if they want to use our facilities".
Joshna Chinappa (Source: Amar Ujala)
However, not all athletes share the same perspective. Joshna Chinappa, one of India’s top squash players has stated that activities related to fitness are done at home; the facility is only used for training. Table Tennis legend Sharath Kamal, who hails from Tamil Nadu has shown concerns for using the stadium for physical activities as the stadium is also used by over 1,000 migrant workers as a waiting point for migrants who are returning home. He told New Indian Express, “I really doubt if I will use the facility for fitness training alone. I have my own set-up at home. We have our centre at Nehru stadium, and we have requested SDAT to let us practice there. But they said it will take a while since the stadium is being used as a shelter point. I want to wait until they open the table tennis court.”
SDAT is also considering opening multiple stadiums and sports complexes for the athletes who are competing in state and national levels by the next two weeks. The decision will be made once the government approves of the SOP. “Once it is, we will think about opening the premises for the next set of athletes — national and state level — after two weeks or so. But even then, we have to make sure that there is no crowd, especially in Chennai,” the official told New Indian Express.
Tamil Nadu Sailing Association (TNSA) has requested permission from Chennai Port Authority in the hopes of beginning training for elite sailors from June 15. It is yet to gain permission.