Football stars return to training as steps continue to sporting restart

India’s national sports federations have already issued guidelines as the nation gears up to resume training.

By Subhayan Dutta ·

Football is making baby steps towards kick off after coronavirus across the world.

With the resumption of Bundesliga in Germany last week - to add to the restart of the Korean K-League - the ball is rolling on the pitch once more following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The next step is likely to be taken in Spain.

After a league shutdown and confinement over the last few months, Spain finally saw La Liga clubs resuming their third phase of the training on Tuesday where stars like Lionel Messi, Eden Hazard, Luka Modric and others were seen training in groups of ten.

Apart from La Liga, the Premier League has also agreed to start a no-contact group training for its players from Tuesday.

Meanwhile, India has stepped into the fourth phase of the national lockdown as the cases continue to rise.

However, the Indian Sports Ministry has given the green light to its athletes to restart training in complexes and stadia by adhering to the Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines.

Training for Indian athletes will be resumed in phases as per the Standard Operating Procedures designed by a six-member of the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

National sports federations get into the act

With boxing being a contact sport, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) has further come up with a list of their own precautionary measures.

It states that boxers coming from the country’s green and orange zones will be self-quarantined for five days before resuming full training.

Apart from the BFI, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has also come up with their set of guidelines, which prohibits the athletes and coaching staff at the camp from shaking hands or even spitting on the ground.

Apart from being instructed to carry their own water bottles, energy drinks, hand sanitisers and towels, the athletes have also been asked to leave their rooms precisely five minutes before their scheduled training.

"Make sure your belongings are not touched by others. Similarly, do not touch anything that does not belong to you. Take a shower immediately after you reach your room. Do not wear the same clothes after shower," AFI’s directives read.

With travelling not an option in the recent future, the Badminton Association of India (BAI) is searching for places that would ape Tokyo conditions for shuttlers’ training.

“We are going to look for someplace, which will be exactly like how Tokyo will be in July 2021 in terms of weather and altitude,” BAI spokesperson Anoop Narang told Times Now.

“The idea is to make the players comfortable,” he added.

The Table Tennis Federation of India has already requested consent from its top 16 paddlers to take part in a training camp.

Manika Batra wants to wait and take precaution before resuming training  

Some, however, have adopted to take on the wait-and-watch approach.

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) is one such federation to go down this route, citing the health of the athletes as its priority.

It’s no different with the athletes either. With some preferring to exercise caution before a decision is made to resume camps, others cannot wait to do what they do best.

“It will add meaning to the life of athletes who dedicate their lives to sport and work for it by letting go and sacrificing many things,” Indian table tennis star Manika Batra told the Times of India.