Among the planned measures are small batches of trainees, barring guardians from practice sessions and a complete ban on trainees below the age of 14 at coaching centres. There was a blanket ban on all sports activities till August 31 since the middle of March, but the new instructions that allowed partial resumption with a maximum of 100 persons has come as a breather for thousands of sportsmen in the city who had been stuck at homes for the last five months, shadow practising their stunts and techniques.
“The past five months had been suffocating. I had nothing to do other than sitting at home, spot bowling against a wall, shadow practising batting and analysing videos. I doubt if I can get back to my old rhythm once the practice sessions begin,” said Soumashree Bhowmick, an under-23 women’s cricketer representing Bengal.
Officials of sports clubs and coaching camps in the city said they were likely to begin exercise sessions, maintaining social distancing protocols before starting practice from September 21. “We have planned to start training sessions this Thursday, dividing students into small groups before we start cricket practice from September 21. But there will be a lot of changes. Coaches will be assigned to ensure that hygiene and santization measures are maintained in the camp,” said Sambaran Banerjee, former cricketer and ex-national selector who runs a cricket academy in south Kolkata.
At Bulan football and cricket academy, the officials have decided to start training from September 21. “We will start deep cleaning but we are a little concerned about how social distancing and sanitisation can be maintained in the toilets and the protocol to address injuries,” said Arijit Majumder, a senior official.
Soumyadeep Poulomi UTT Table Tennis Centre in Jadavpur recently opened on a trial basis and spaced out tables to ensure social distancing. “We have reduced the number of tables and students per slot to ensure social distancing. Coaches have been asked to wear face shields and all trainees are being asked to maintain social distancing protocols,” said Soumyadeep Roy, a former national TT champion.