Not many would be aware local sports academies which were functioning at the Delhi Development Authority’s complexes have taken a huge hit.
Despite the fact these centres were opened for members in June to come and train under the pay and play scheme, proper coaching schemes have still not been given permission.
What is surprising is when venues like Chattrasal Stadium and Tyagaraj Stadium are operational and athletes have started training, why the DDA is imposing such tight restrictions.
Disciplines like badminton, table tennis, tennis, football, swimming and even gymnastics had been running huge programmes. The complete standstill, even after Unlock 3 guidelines have been given, is baffling.
Several coaches are in distress and afraid of speaking out openly. They have been running centres at various venues and have no source of income for over six months.
“It is strange, gyms have been allowed to open and our training/coaching centres have not got the green signal. The entire city is functioning, offices are open, parks are filled up. If we coaches are ready to maintain the social distancing guidelines, what is the problem in making coaching centres functional,” said Vinod Kumar, a tennis coach.
Another coach, Malvinder Singh, said it is very surprising why academies are not being allowed to function. “I am getting calls from my students on when sport will resume. The children are eager to play and feel depressed not training again. There is obviously some confusion over guidelines as to why coaching cannot resume,” he said.
The entire summer sporting activity was wiped out in Delhi because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been a sharp fall in the number of positive cases in the Capital and even the recovery rate has improved drastically. The Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has himself said the city is much safer now.
Everyone knows the DDA sports complexes come under the central government. However, if the Delhi Government takes proactive measures and speaks to Lt Governor Anil Baijal, a way forward can be found.
The way sports schemes are shut, coaches, markers and budding athletes are suffering big time. It is well known coaches have been reduced to a state of despair as there is no income.
However, looking at the overall health of teenagers, it is about time academies are allowed to open. In cricket alone, there are thousands of academies all over the city. With schools and colleges shut, if youngsters above 10 play sport, it will definitely be beneficial for their physical and mental health.