Indian Olympic Association has raised with the government very pertinent questions regarding the resumption of our national game – hockey and other sporting activities after the Sports Ministry called for the opening of the stadiums.
"Why hockey can't start where they can practice five or six a side? Holland and Belgium have started hockey, why can't India? Bundesliga has started as a proper match in Germany. In football, there is the same level of body contact as in hockey or maybe less. I don't what the protocol would be with contact sports till such time we get some proper vaccination," IOA President Narendra Batra told Republic TV in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.
He also wondered why, although many countries have allowed it, swimming has not yet started in India.
"Many countries have started swimming and I don't know why it has been felt in our country that you can't swim. We must see what the other countries are doing. Not only for swimmers but for ordinary people also, swimming is an exercise where every single muscle of your's gets used. Why swimming is not being encouraged and why there is a feeling that swimming can create havoc, I am not able to understand. It's a big issue why swimming is being handled as a separate issue," he said.
The IOA chief also touched upon wrestling. "Wrestling is an issue where there is physical contact and you need a sparring partner more than boxing, where you need gloves and guards. These are issues need to be addressed. I don't think right now in the world no one has addressed these issues," he added.
Regarding updates of national camps, Batra said: "If you talk about National camps, all the athletes come by air and air service has not started as yet so I understand that Air Service will start by early June. Moving elite athletes for the Olympics will not be an issue. But if we are talking of lower pyramid or structure then transportation within the state has already started. But again the issue is what are the protocols and how do you solve it."
He adds, "Yes the directives have come that you can open the stadium without getting the spectators in. These are MHA guidelines. Now each state has to formulate their own guidelines on how it can be implemented. As of now, no state has formulated any guidelines. We are having a process of discussion and I feel it will take 10-15 days it's not so soon that it can start. Some activities have started some athletes have started. Hima Das and certain athletes have started training. We are aware of it. Three of our national teams are in the camps... national men and women's hockey team have been staying in Bangalore SAI centre in the entire pandemic and lockdown period. Athletics athletes are in Patiala and weightlifters are in Kolkata. Still, there are some loose ends to be tied up with the state governments and see how to go about it."