Confined at INS Patiala: Hima Das wants to train,writes to Sports Minister for permission
Punjab : Amid escalating coronavirus scare, sprinter Hima Das, who is from Assam, and some other athletes have, reportedly, written a letter to Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, seeking permission to go for the training ground. The athletes are now camping at the National Institute of Sports(INS), Patiala, Punjab and passing time indoors following the norms of 21-day-long nationwide lockdown. Clamping the lockdown, the Union Government has halted all kind of social or mass gatherings to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and almost all people across the country have been following the government instructions. The government also appealed to the people to stay indoors during the lockdown which ends on April 14. However, Hima and her fellow athletes, urged the Sports Minister to grant them permission for pursuing training. Informing the development to media, Deputy Chief national athletics coach Radhakrishnan Nair, who has seconded the move, said, “Hima and some other athletes have written to the Sports Minister that they be allowed to train one or two hours a day in small groups at different times so that they can also practice social distancing while training at the same time.” The coach added that they have written to Rijiju that they be sent home if no training is allowed. However, going home for them is not feasible as the country is in lockdown and Prime Minister has said everybody should be where they are. The athletes are waiting for a reply from the Sports Minister. “We have 41 athletes at NIS and the track and field area is just 50m from the hostels. We can have small groups say eight athletes each and only one group will train at a time for one or two hours,” Nair said adding that he and his colleague coaches have supported the idea as there is no risk of any camper infected by the dreaded coronavirus as nobody is coming in and going out of the facility. Meanwhile, star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra is currently passing days in self-isolation in INS, Patiala, as he recently returned from Turkey. His 14-day isolation will end on April 1. He and other athletes have been taking training at the premier institute of sports since 2018. Recently, the Government of Assam announced that Hima Das will be offered an honorary post of Deputy Superintendent of the Assam police as the former exhibited tremendous performance in international sports events held different places of the world and bought glory to the state as well as the country.