SAI: Camp for junior athletes to begin from October 1

The national training camps for junior athletes will begin in a phased manner from October 1, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) said on Wednesday.

It was decided in SAI’s Mission Olympic Cell review meeting that training of junior athletes at its National Centres of Excellence (NCOE), shut since March due to the COVID-19 outbreak, will start in a phased manner from October.

“The training of junior campers will start from October 1 in a phased manner. First the athletes of TOPS Developmental Group will start training and gradually others will begin,” a SAI source told PTI.

The SAI, however, said that the respective state governments where the NCOEs are situated will take the final call, keeping in mind the health and safety of athletes and coaches amid the pandemic.

In view of the preparation for Olympics and to ensure that athletes have world-class infrastructure and equipment to train with, the SAI has also decided to enhance the funds at all its NCOEs.

“Funds will be provided to upgrade existing infrastructure and equipment or procure new ones, as per the need of athletes. We are ready to provide all support needed to ensure that athletes in India have the best facilities at par with the world,” Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said.

To ensure a safe environment for all the athletes, especially those joining the camps in their teenage years, a series of sensitisation workshops will be held in these NCOEs on various subjects.

Besides, the SAI has also decided to increase these awareness workshops, including workshops on sexual harassment. The aim is to make athletes aware of sexual harassment issues and about the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, and motivate them to speak up against any form of harassment.