Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has said that he hopes sporting activities in the country, which have been on a standstill since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will resume by September of October.
Rijiju recently attended the Ministerial Forum of Commonwealth countries to share India's road to resumption of sport, post COVID-19 pandemic, and also to contribute to the creation of a collaborative sports policy in the post pandemic era.
Speaking at the global forum, which saw participation from all Commonwealth countries, Rijiju said, "As members of Commonwealth nations we need to stand in solidarity on all issues, especially at a time like this. I am glad to be on this forum with all other Commonwealth nations to collaborate on the way forward."
"Most of the points raised here by ministers from other countries are similar to that of India's. However, there are some significant learnings and achievements that we have had during this period, which I would like to share."
However, in the second phase of lockdown, on-ground training and conducting sporting activities will be the focus of the Indian government, he reiterated. "The government has allowed some sporting activities with certain restrictions while following a stringent SOP, the guidelines that must be followed by every sporting organisation."
"I am happy to inform that the training of our elite, Olympic-bound athletes has begun in specialised camps, recently. I have also spoken to the sports ministers of all states and union territories, as well as the National Sports Federations and asked them to slowly resume some sporting events. We need that to boost the confidence of people.
"I am hopeful India will have sporting events from September or October, even the big leagues in various sports are considering resumption," the Sports Minister added.
Pointing to the importance of citizens staying fit during the pandemic, the Sports Minister said, "I would like to inform all ministers on this forum that a very important programme, the Fit India Movement, was launched by our Prime Minister last year, and it has been very useful in fighting the pandemic since building fitness and immunity is crucial during these COVID-19 times."
"India has successfully created awareness about the importance of staying fit through a series of dedicated online programs for citizens on fitness and well-being, all through the pandemic. Experts have shared their advice on health, nutrition, exercises that citizens of all age groups has used successfully."
Rijiju also spoke of diversification of sports delivery models and shared how India is successfully running online training programs for athletes and skill upgradation courses for coaches.
"We have seen participation from thousands of athletes of various levels and coaches who have been hugely benefitted by these knowledge enhancement programs," he said.