Aggrieved coaches meet administrators to relax curbs immediately
NAGPUR: On a day when the Nagpur district collector added more restrictions, the Pune Municipal Corporation made further relaxations to existing rules and allowed both, indoor and outdoor sports activities to function till 4 pm.
These relaxations came despite Pune having a weekly positivity rate for the virus at 5.3%, whereas Nagpur remained below 1%. Maharashtra’s deputy CM Ajit Pawar is also the guardian minister of Pune district.
The coaches and officials handling activities at indoor sports halls in the city have been running from pillar to post since last year. Aggrieved with the continuous “unfair treatment” meted out to them, a handful submitted their representation to the district collector, municipal commissioner and guardian minister, requesting them to allow activities at the spacious Indoor Sports Complex in Mankapur. Some of the badminton coaches also approached state sports minister Sunil Kedar with their request.
Irked with the verbal reply they received from the corporation and collectorate officials, one of the coaches said, “We all have been visiting the collector and commissioner’s offices for the last one week, which replied that they can’t do anything as the order came from the chief minister’s office. If so, how were all indoor sports activities allowed in Pune? Is it because the dy CM of Maharashtra is Pune’s guardian minister?”
Badminton coach Amit Raut said, “Nowhere in India are indoor halls closed by the respective state governments right now, then why is Maharashtra so unfair to non-contact sports like badminton, table tennis and gymnastics?” Another badminton coach Ajay Dayal asked, “How is a gym different from other indoor sports activities.”
Yet another coach said, “Most of these decision makers are highly educated. They must be aware that sports help improve immunity. Doctors are also suggesting people to do exercise regularly so that they can maintain their physical and mental health. We are still wondering why these decision makers have not pointed out this advantage to the government.”
Adding that the Badminton Association of India had announced its schedule for the coming season, starting from the month of September, Dayal said, “All of us badminton coaches are working to groom players in Nagpur so that they can compete at the state, national and international levels. How will our players perform with these restrictions?”
Raut mentioned that in the last one-and-half years (since March 2020), Nagpur players got just four months to practice. “In the current circumstances, their performance will be affected and it will be difficult for them to compete in future tournaments,” he said.
He added, “The families of most of the coaches and trainers are completely dependent on the earnings from these sessions. Since the lockdown, their financial condition has been severely affected. They are on the verge of begging.”
Dayal further said that most of the players and badminton enthusiasts were well aware of the Covid threat, and that many had got the first or second doses of vaccine.
In their representation, the coaches also made various suggestions for handling things.
A senior NMC official said that as Pune had allowed activities in indoor halls for fully vaccinated players, coaches and officials, Nagpur administrators could also reconsider their decision and relax restrictions for the betterment of the public at large.