Thiruvananthapuram: The Directorate of Health Services has opposed the move to resume sporting activities in the state, considering the prevailing COVID-19 situation and the need to protect athletes from exposure to the virus.
The health authorities will review the situation arising out of the three-phased elections to the decentralised tiers of local bodies that have raised concerns about the spread of the virus. The department is expected to give the nod if the number of cases go down by next month.
The decision has forced Kerala Cricket Association to postpone its maiden T20 league scheduled to begin in Alappuzha on December 17.
The Directorate of Sports and Youth Affairs had written to the chief minister two months ago seeking permission to resume all sports-related activities that have remained suspended since mid-March. The Kerala State Sports Council had seconded the proposal saying that competitions and training could be conducted in compliance with the existing safety guidelines.
Operation Olympia, an elite training programme launched in January, 2019, to prepare the state’s athletes for the 2024 Olympic Games, is also dormant for the time being. Various annual events organised by sports bodies attached to the Sports Council have also been suspended till further notice.
It is feared that the absence of normal training habits, along with the cancellation or postponement of major events, might have negative effects on physical fitness and performance of sportspersons.
Notably, academies and training centres run by non-governmental organisations and private firms in the state have already resumed sporting activities.
While there is no clarity on the resumption of competitive sports in Kerala, many other state governments have granted permission to their players to start training and participate in competitions.
With national-level events scheduled to begin next month, lack of proper training and exposure might affect the performance of athletes from Kerala.