Centre issues SOPs for training at swimming pools

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New Delhi (NVI): The Ministry of Sports has issued the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for training of sportspersons, as the swimming pools reopen from October 15 in areas outside the containment zones.

The standard operating procedures, released yesterday, will be applied to all Sports Authorities of India (SAI) and non-SAI centres wherein training of sportspersons may resume, provided no orders of the local authorities prohibit such facilities to resume operations.

According to the guidelines, a maximum of 20 swimmers can train in a pool size of 50 M-10 lane, while 16 swimmers are permitted in 25/50 m eight lane pools.

Other than that, swimmers will be required to furnish “Obligatory self declaration” and residential trainees will have to submit a mandatory COVID-19 negative report before being allowed inside the premises.

The guidelines also said, a COVID-19 negative report is a must for residential trainees. “For residential trainees, they need to produce a negative COVID-19 report 72 hour/96 hours before arrival to the centre followed by 14 days quarantine period,” it said.

“On the 6th or 7th day of quarantine period, another COVID-19 test must be conducted. Thereafter, trainees can mix with the other quarantined trainees only and not with other trainees staying in the campus. Only after completing 7 more days, they can mix with other trainees,” it added.

Moreover, athletes, coaches, facility staff who begin to cough/ sneeze or have above normal temperature for any reason, must move away from others until coughing and sneezing dissipates.

“In case of above normal temperature, a coach or staff member should ask athletes, as they come into practice, specifically listing certain symptoms, and send home those athletes reporting illness or experiencing symptoms.”

Meanwhile, the use of Arogya Setu app shall be made mandatory for all athletes and staff at the centre, as per the SOP.

The guidelines also applies to competitive swimmers, coaches and support staff besides staffs of the facilities.

“All personal training equipment belonging to an athlete shall be disinfected while the athlete is inducted into the training centre. Athletes and staff shall be screened before being allowed access to common field-of-play or training facilities. RT-PCR test shall be conducted for new and returning athletes,” it said.

The SOP also bars residential athletes from sharing soaps, towels and any other utility in common shower areas. Besides, spitting and clearing of nasal or respiratory secretions on the pool especially during swimming or at any place within the facility other than toilets shall be prohibited. “Athletes shall also perform hand-hygiene before and after use of all training equipment, ” it added.

Notably, swimming pool operators should have a dedicated officer responsible for COVID-19 considerations, making sure that they are up to date with central or local government recommendations.

“A Covid Task Force will also be constituted at each training centre to guide and monitor all trainees, coaches and staff within the centres and it shall be responsible for overall implementation of protocols outlined in this SOP,” as per the guidelines.

Also, while swimming, swimmers will be required to maintain a distance of at least six feet and not making any physical contact with others and coaches are advised to follow workouts to maintain basic fitness and endurance of the swimmers.

The guidelines concluded that, it would be the responsibility of the centre head and coach in-charge to ensure complete adherence to training protocols and to secure agreement from respective athletes that any training activity undertaken shall be in full compliance to the protocols mentioned in the SOP.