IOA President Narinder Batra Says Returning to Full Training Could Take 2-3 Months

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Restarting full training for sports in the country could be a process stretching over two to three months, according to Indian Olympic Association President Narinder Batra.

Batra said athletes who have mostly been confined to their rooms in sports facilities and their own homes can only get back to full training gradually.

"What is happening right now is there are a few coaches and high performance directors who are outside India but also many who could not go outside," Batra said in the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) hosted webinar 'Sporting Events: Embracing the New Normal'

"A lot of things are happening online with coaches monitoring the players. But regardless, if you are doing all this at home, your output will not be more than 40 to 50 percent. So all athletes when they come back to training now like the ones in Patiala and Bengaluru, they are all starting with a basic load and not a full load."

The probables for the senior Indian men's and women's hockey teams and several Olympic bound track and field athletes are at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Bengaluru while over 40 athletes including the likes of Neeraj Chopra and Hima Das are at the National Institute of Sport (NIS) Patiala. Outdoor training at both centres began over the past two weeks.

"It is going to be a process spread over two or three months but again depending upon the situation around the pandemic. Right now, every single athlete who has qualified for the Olympics or is in line for the Olympics is in our radar," he said.

Batra said that the situation that Indian sports administrators face is a unique one due to the sheer size and population of the country and thus, a model such as the one followed by Germany to get the Bundesliga up and running cannot be copied.

"The population of India is twice of that of the entire Europe. So starting things there and doing it here are two diffferent things," he said.