Closed Stadia, OTT Platforms To Be New Normal For Sports Events: Odisha Minister

Bhubaneswar: Minister of Sports and Youth Services Tusharkanti Behera on Tuesday said in the present COVID-19 situation, closed stadia will be the new normal and OTT platforms will play a crucial role in engaging the fans.

In an interaction over video-conferencing with Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and sports ministers of other States, Behera said Odisha has adopted the following initiatives to facilitate a partial but safe resumption of sporting activities:

  • Detailed SOP has been issued as per the guidelines of the Central Government across our Sports Facilities.
  • 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.
  • Currently, all Covid-19 protocols are being followed during coaching, including daily thermal screening and periodic sanitisation of play field/pitch and residential complexes.
  • For Swimming, strength and conditioning training are resorted to.
  • 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.

The minister further said since the sports is a priority sector, the state has taken steps to strengthen the infrastructure. Several key projects, including the development and renovation of pitches for the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup have resumed. The work for the Men’s Hockey World Cup 2023 has commenced.

Besides, the minister spoke on following strategy to strengthen the sports scenario across the districts:

  • 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. Technology will play a key role in reducing operation costs and enhance knowledge sharing.
  • The administration will develop comprehensive event and venue to ensure health and safety guidelines for all involved in sports events. This will include facilitating sanitisation by-laws, upgrading building guidelines and incorporating social distancing norms.

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