Bhubaneswar, Jul 14 (PTI) With COVID-19 crisis creating
uncertainty everywhere, the Odisha government on Tuesday said
the unprecedented situation must be used as an opportunity to
adopt innovative methods and reassess priorities to revive the
This was stated by Odishas Sports and Youth Services
Minister Tusharkanti Behera during an interaction Union Sports
Minister Kiren Rijiju had with sports ministers and senior
officials of different states and union territories through
Laying emphasis on the significant role that innovation,
collaboration and technology can play in reviving the sports
ecosystem, Behera shared the initiatives that the Odisha
government had undertaken to resume sports and, being a sports
hub, the possible way forward for its authorities and
stakeholders to adopt.
"Owing to the unprecedented coronavirus crisis, sports
fraternities across the nation are in a constant dilemma
regarding the uncertain future. However, the recent relaxation
by the central government and guidelines laid down by SAI has
brought in some positivity for all stakeholders," he said.
Behera said the sports sector has to treat this as an
opportunity to innovate, to rethink policies and to reassess
priorities and best practices from across the world are being
considered to chart a course ahead.
Stating that Odisha has taken initiative to facilitate a
partial but safe resumption of sporting activities, the
minister said detailed SOP had been issued as per the
guidelines of the central government across sports facilities
in the state.
"Elite athletes have resumed training at the Kalinga
stadium and we have planned resumption of training across
sports complex and facilities, in a phased manner," Behera
All Covid-19 protocols are being followed during coaching,
including daily thermal screening and periodic sanitisation of
play field/pitch and residential complexes, he added.
For swimming, the state is resorting to strength and
conditioning training, while sports hostel inmates are
benefitting from webinars and personal guidance from coaches
on mental and physical conditioning.
Coaches are being aligned with SAI and other educative
sessions through the online medium, he said.
On the way forward for the resumption of sports, Behera
shared his views on how the state plans to reorient its
strategy and strengthen the sports scenario across districts
to benefit the sportspersons and the sports lovers of the
In the future, certain elements of sports training that
can continue to happen online, and can be offered to trainees
and sportspersons through different models will get integrated
into the training regime, he said adding that technology will
play a key role in reducing operation costs and enhance
Stating that the sports events scenario is gradually
opening up in the state, Behera said FIFA has announced the
dates for FIFA U 17 Womens World Cup in Feb-March 2021.
"We will work closely with the Local Organizing Committee
(LOC) of the tournament and implement strictest of safety
norms," he said.
It is impotant to prioritise the health of athletes and
sports staff and adhere to precautionary measures and
guidelines ensuring maximum health protocols.
Administration will develop comprehensive event and venue
health and safety guidelines for all involved in such sports
This will include facilitating sanitisation by-laws,
upgrading building guidelines and incorporating social
distancing norms, which could be added to venue house rules
and contracts, he said.
"In addition, we may have to accept closed stadia as the
new normal. We foresee a transformation in sports broadcasting
and consumption of sports content in the future. Technology
and Content on OTT platforms will play a crucial role in
engaging and entertaining the fans through digital
innovation," the sports minister said.
Since sports remains a priority sector, the government
will continue to develop and strengthen sports infrastructure
to make sports inclusive and accessible to all.
While several key projects, including the development and
renovation of pitches for the FIFA U17 Womens World Cup have
resumed, the Mens Hockey World Cup 2023 is ahead and work
towards it has commenced, Behera added. PTI SKN