The 36th edition of the National Games, which was scheduled to be held in Goa later this year, has been postponed indefinitely, the organising committee of the event has announced.
Initially slated to be held in November 2016, the National Games were pushed back due to the delay in completion of the sporting venues.
While the organisers were hoping to host the Games from October 20-November 4 this year, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus has brought an abrupt end to the developments on that front.
“The National Games organising committee has decided to postpone National Games due to COVID-19 pandemic,” Goa’s deputy chief minister Manohar (Babu) Ajgaonkar, who also holds the sports portfolio, said in a statement shared by Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra.
The statement added that a meeting will be held towards the end of September to decide on fixing dates for the National Games and to provide four months advance notice to organise it.
National Games after Tokyo 2020
Moreover with the Olympics being pushed back by a year, the organisers fear that the National Games will lose much of its sheen with the elite athletes trying to stay away from the event to concentrate on their programme building up to the Tokyo Olympics.
The IOA, meanwhile, has stated that given the prevailing situation, hosting the National Games was not a priority and that the health and safety of the athletes couldn’t be compromised.
While the organising committee is expected to meet in September to decide on the new dates for the events, it is rumoured to be held at the end of the 2021 season.
Last held in 2015 in Kerala, the National Games has been a platform for many talented athletes to showcase their quality at a national stage, which has often proven to be a springboard for their careers.
The 2015 edition saw Sajan Prakash (swimming), Arokia Rajeev (400m), G Lakshmanan (5000m, 10000m) and Renjith Maheswary (triple jump) among others make the most of the National Games to make it to the national squads in the following seasons.