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Sports Authority Of India To Shut Down 67 Training Centres Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) announced on Monday that it will close 67 training centers across the country due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, although national camps for elite athletes will continue in bio-bubbles. The decision has no bearing on National Centres of Excellence (NCOE) like those in Patiala and Bengaluru, where elite athletes are training in a number of sports. “In view of rising cases of COVID-19, the Sports Authority of India has decided to close the 67 SAI Training centers across the country. The decision also comes in the wake of directives issued by various states to suspend sporting activities for the safety of athletes,” the SAI said in a statement.

The sports centers would reopen after a thorough examination of the circumstances.

“There is no change in training schedule of elite athletes training for Asian and Commonwealth Games later this year. They are training in bio-bubbles at the NCOEs and following all precautions,” an SAI spokesperson told PTI.

On Monday, India reported 1,79,723 new COVID-19 cases.

The number of active cases has risen to 7,23,619, the highest in about 204 days, while the number of covid-19 deaths has risen to 4,83,936, with the health ministry reporting 146 fatalities this morning.

Due to the discovery of many COVID-19 cases in the country’s top training facilities, the SAI ordered the deployment of stricter protocols, including weekly testing of all athletes and support staff at its campuses across the country, last week.

The tougher SOP was implemented after 24 athletes and 12 support staff members tested positive for the virus at the SAI’s Bhopal center.

Last week, 35 junior athletes at the Sports Authority of India’s Bengaluru facility who were participating in several national events tested positive for the extremely contagious virus.

This came after the nodal sports body administered random tests to 210 people, including 175 athletes and 35 coaches.

On March 31, last year, 30 athletes and support staff from various sports were found to be COVID-19 positive following 741 precautionary tests at the National Centres of Excellence in Patiala and Bengaluru.

SAI had also organized a panel to closely monitor the implementation of SOPs, quarantine rules, and isolation facilities, as well as to suggest methods to limit the spread of COVID-19.

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