New Delhi, April 22 (IANS) The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Thursday said that the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics to 2021 would leave athletes carrying injuries or those who have taken maximum workload to peak in 2020 at a disadvantage.
In its preparation committee meeting that was done virtually on Thursday morning, the IOA also agreed that there is likely to be no international or domestic competitions until the end of the year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The IOA however also believes that younger Indian athletes who have qualified for the Olympics now get more time to “train, gain more experience & confidence” going into the 2021 Olympics.
The association stated that the meeting was attended by National Sports Federations (NSFs) “whose athletes have already qualified for Olympics and also those NSFs whose athletes are yet to qualify for Olympics” apart from IOA President Narinder Batra, Secretary General Rajiv Mehta, Olympics Chef de Mission Prem Chand Verma and Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) CEO Cdr Rajesh Rajagopalan.
The pannel also requested the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the Sports Ministry to allow athletes who are in SAI centres and facilities to continue training. A number of athletes including star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra are confined to their rooms at the National Institute of Sport (NIS) in Patiala while the men’s and women’s hockey teams are in SAI’s Bengaluru centre.
It also said that “discussion should be taken up with SAI and MYAS as to how other SAI centres can also be opened for other Olympic Sports by following & respecting all the required restrictions and protocols.”
The IOA said that equipment of NSFs that are stuck outside the country due to the lockdown be brought back with assistance from SAI and the Sports Ministry. It was also determined that a decision for extension of contracts of High Performance Directors, chief/head coaches, coaches and other support staff till 2021 or 2024 “needs to be done on priority by SAI & MYAS for smooth handling of training for 2021 & thereafter.”