File Photograph: Union minister Kiren Rijiju

Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on May 11 said that the training of elite athletes will resume once the lockdown is lifted.

“Once the lockdown is lifted, we will resume the training of our elite athletes followed by other SAI Training Centres in phased manner,” Rijiju tweeted.

The sports minister also appealed sportspersons and all stakeholders not to rush because health and safety is top priority presently.

Elite weightlifters housed in SAI’s National Center of Excellence in Patiala spoke to Rijiju via video conference and shared their feedback on resumption of training in a phased manner. Rijiju spoke to all weightlifters and coaches to understand their training requirements.

The sports minister had earlier said that the ministry is planning a phase-wise re-opening of training camps for the athletes. “First of all we will identify those players and teams who have qualified for the Olympics. Second, those who are going to play the Olympic qualification competitions, we will allow these athletes to practice,” Rijiju had said.

“We won’t be able to open camps for those who are not in qualification reckoning soon. Maybe that will go beyond August or September,” he had added.

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