Won’t allow foreign athletes to be inconvenienced by quarantine rules: Kiren Rijiju | More sports News

2021-02-24 04:09:34

AHMEDABAD: Sports minister Kiren Rijiju has assured foreign contingents visiting the Indian shores for participating in international events that their athletes will not be inconvenienced by the country’s prevalent quarantine rules and that the government will extend full support to the national sports federations (NSFs) willing to host the global meets at home in order to bring normalcy back to Indian sports amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
India will be hosting the Combined Shooting World Cup in New Delhi from March 18 to 29 at the Karni Singh Shooting Range, the first big-ticket Olympic discipline competition in almost a year since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country and the subsequent nationwide lockdown imposed in March last. A total of 280 shooters and 101 officials from 42 participating nations have confirmed their entries for the event, according to the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI).
Boxing Federation of India (BFI) has planned to host an Asian boxing championships somewhere around April while the prestigious India Open badminton tournament, a Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) World Tour 500 event and also a qualifying meet for the Tokyo Olympics, is scheduled between May 11 and 16.
For the shooting World Cup, the countries which have confirmed participation include the United Kingdom and Brazil, among others. According to the new guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), all travellers arriving in India from these two nations will have to undergo seven-day quarantine even if tested negative upon arrival at the airport. These travellers will again be tested after seven days and, if found negative, be released from quarantine. Earlier, the MoHFW’s rule had mandated passengers from these two countries a hard quarantine of 14 days.
For those testing positive either at the airport or subsequently during home quarantine period or their contacts who turn positive will be isolated in an institutional isolation facility in a separate unit coordinated by the respective state health authorities. There has been increasing evidence that the mutant variant of SARS-CoV-2 is in circulation in many countries, including the UK and Brazil.
“The government will support the hosting of international events in the country. Cricket has started and the stadiums are allowing crowds. India and England pink-ball Test at the Motera stadium (in Ahmedabad) will have crowd and it will be an exciting match. We don’t want international athletes (read Olympic and non-Olympic disciplines) to be inconvenienced by the quarantine rules, so the government will extend all help to make their stay comfortable. However, we have to follow the guidelines issued by the MoHFW and protocols set by them. We have to keep that in mind as well. The participating athletes coming from outside India will have to carry a Covid-19 negative test report and they will be tested again at the Delhi airport. During their stay, their health will be regularly monitored by the organisers. So, we will extend all support,” Rijiju told a select gathering of journalists here on Tuesday.
Speaking on a variety of issues, Rijiju informed that Tokyo Olympics-bound Indian athletes and contingent officials will be vaccinated on a priority basis before their departure for the Games. However, their turn will come only after the government completes its vaccination drive of inoculating healthcare and frontline workers. “Our Tokyo-bound athletes will definitely be vaccinated. But, it’s for the health ministry to decide when to begin the vaccination drive. Our first priority as a nation is to vaccinate our Covid warriors which are the healthcare staff and frontline workers. We are regulating the vaccine management. After our Covid warriors are vaccinated, the priority will be the Olympic athletes,” he added.
Rijiju also stated that the ministry will be naming the sports facilities and centres within the stadium premises after the former and current sports personalities to recognise their achievements. “The government’s priority is to develop sports facilities and name them after sportspersons in their honour.”
Talking about the contentious topic involving the Sports Code, Rijiju informed that the ‘relaxation’ clause introduced in the code has been done by the ministry using its legislative ‘special powers’ for the betterment of the Indian sporting ecosystem.
On the issue of several former sportspersons, primarily from Punjab and Haryana, threatening to return their sports awards including Padma Shri and Arjuna awardees in support of the ongoing farmers’ protest against the Centre’s three agriculture reform laws, Rijiju sought to question the relevance of such a move. “What sports has to do with the farmers’ agitation or how sports has harmed you? How is this returning of awards relevant to the protest? I don’t understand.”

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