A shorter and more convenient quarantine period will be introduced for next month’s World Cup shooting, Minister of Sports Kiren Ridge promised not to discourage international shooters from competing in the event.
The ISSF Combined World Championships will be held in New Delhi from March 18 to 29, featuring shooters from more than 40 countries, including Britain and Brazil.
“I have already assured that India will hold international tournaments in such a way as to follow the COVID protocols, but foreign players will not remain in long quarantine and will not be discouraged from participating,” said Ridgeju after visiting the new Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad.
The ministry was recently asked to release the shooters from a strict 14-day quarantine, and for foreign delegates to receive vaccine photos mostly.
Rijiju made it clear that the provision of vaccines falls within the purview of the Ministry of Health, but they will ensure that participants do not experience inconvenience.
“If our players were also quarantined for 14-15 days, they would not feel comfortable either.
“So what we’re planning is that all the delegates coming from outside will have to be tested before they arrive, and we’ll test them again when they arrive at the airport. We’ll do it in a way that’s convenient for them.” said Ridge.
Asked when the process of giving vaccine shots to Indian athletes tied to the Olympics would begin, the minister said the government’s priority at the moment was COVID warriors.
“The COVID vaccine is something the Ministry of Health has to decide and it has already been decided that it has to start with COVID warriors. First they have to be safe, the doctors, the nurses, the security officers. Then the players will come and others.
“Obviously, Tokyo-affiliated athletes, technical teams like coaching staff, coaches will get priority, but the overall priority is with the interior ministry and the ministry of ministers. Athletes are definitely a priority for the sports ministry.”
The 2011 National Sports Development Code currently governs the National Sports Federations, but Ridjiu insisted it needs to be modified to meet today’s needs.
“There is a sports code, but we want to form a new code that takes care of the requirements of modernity. We want to change some regulations that do not take care of many sports that are of a different nature.
“Like golf and boxing, they can’t be the same. And for example (if) union territories (want) to have national federations, which may not be possible for some.
Sports such as golf, equestrian sports, ice hockey and skiing are some disciplines that cannot be played in every country.
“You need a club culture for horseback riding and skiing can’t be played everywhere. The sports code doesn’t define it all, it just says how the NSF can be formed. A few things need to change. It needs to change over time.” he said.
Rijiju’s comment came at a time when the sports ministry is facing a court battle at the Supreme Court in Delhi, where it is defending a relaxation clause regarding the recognition of NSF, which is disputed.
Last week, the Center told the Delhi Supreme Court that it had the executive power to ease the provisions of the sports code regarding the granting of recognition to national sports federations.
Lawyer Rahul Mehra, who filed the application, claims that by introducing the relaxation clause, the ministry is trying to “revoke” or “invalidate” court orders to ensure that federations comply with the code before they are granted recognition.
In its response, submitted through the central government, the ministry claimed that there was no “excess” on its part when it adopted the order on 1 February.
In a statement, the ministry said the power of relaxation would be “exercised as a special exemption when deemed necessary and appropriate to promote the sport, athletes” and would always be guided by the sports code.
Ridjiju also said the sports facility would be named after wrestler KD Yadhav, India’s first independent Olympic medalist, a remark coming at a time when the bronze medalist at the 1952 Helsinki Games was required to be awarded with Padma Sri.
“We have already decided that a sports facility will be named after him or a new center will be created in his honor,” he said.