After a six-month break because of coronavirus, the Tamil Nadu government has decided to resume sporting events in the state. According to Times of India, following a letter from the Tamil Nadu Olympic Association (TNOA) earlier this week, the government has given permission to various sporting bodies to conduct state leagues and tournaments without spectators allowed inside the stadium.
A top state sports ministry official confirmed the development. “The permission has been given after weighing a lot of factors. The athletes have been training for over a month now and they need some competitions to prepare themselves for national-level events. A lot of sportspersons have also been hit hard financially and participating in tournaments will help solve those crises. So the federations can approach us with a proposal of how they want to conduct the tournaments. We will carefully consider all the aspects before giving the final approval. No audience and spectators will be allowed though,” the official told TOI.
The government’s decision will come a huge boost for numerous athletes across the state. TOI had reported last week how sportspersons across disciplines are struggling both mentally and financially with no competitions taking place.
It is understood that 32 associations under TNOA, barring cricket and chess, have already started their preparations for organising leagues and tournaments. TNOA general secretary JM Fernando informed that they have also got the nod to conduct age-group events in U-14, U-16, U-19 and U-21 categories as well. “The federations have already called for a meeting next week and first week of October to work out their calendar and fix dates for these events. They will then submit a holistic plan with a sound SOP to Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) and TN government for approval,” Fernando said.
Asked whether tournaments for contact sports like boxing and wrestling can also be held, Fernando said that it will depend on the respective sporting bodies. “TNOA will not risk itself by taking a call for every sporting discipline. But I can confirm that football, volleyball, basketball and hockey have already started planning,” said Fernando.