Coronavirus pandemic: Sports minister Kiren Rijiju says he urged PV Sindhu to continue playing All England Championships

Wary of the novel COVID-19 threat, top shuttler PV Sindhu on Thursday called up Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju from the United Kingdom, seeking his suggestion on whether to continue playing in the All England Championships.

Press Trust of India March 13, 2020 22:23:06 IST
Coronavirus pandemic: Sports minister Kiren Rijiju says he urged PV Sindhu to continue playing All England Championships

New Delhi: Wary of the novel COVID-19 threat, top shuttler PV Sindhu on Thursday called up Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju from the United Kingdom, seeking his suggestion on whether to continue playing in the All England Championships.

Rijiju said on Friday that he told her to carry on and follow the safety guidelines of that country.

Coronavirus pandemic Sports minister Kiren Rijiju says he urged PV Sindhu to continue playing All England Championships

File image of PV Sindhu. AP

The Sports Ministry had on Thursday issued an advisory asking national federations to follow the Health Ministry's guidelines and avoid large gatherings in sports events. Earlier, it had asked all National Sports Federations to exercise caution while sending teams for foreign competitions.

"Sindhu called me and I told her that those who are playing outside in important tournaments like the Olympic qualifications can continue to play but they should follow guidelines of those respective countries. They should also take certain safety measures," Rijiju told the media after the General Body Meeting of the Sports Authority of India in New Delhi.

Asked about shuttler P Kashyap expressing confusion regarding the advisory of the Health Ministry through his tweets, Rijiju said, "I have made the clarification that those who are competing abroad should continue."

"The PM is personally monitoring the situation. We are very serious. Public health is a concern and the government at the highest level has taken a decision to ensure that there are no events happening with large number of people gathering."

Rijiju said that Indian players who had taken part in competitions held at the seven notified countries as well as athletes from those nations coming for events here will have to be compulsorily quarantined.

"Whether they are Indian players or foreign athletes, they have to be quarantined," he said.

The seven notified countries are China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, France, Spain and Germany.

Asked if the India Open badminton tournament, scheduled to be held later this month without spectators, will go ahead, he said, "We have issued advisories to all NSFs, including BCCI, regarding players going abroad and for those taking part in events inside the country.

"Which federation had reacted in what manner, I don't want to go into that. These guidelines will have to be followed in letter and spirit by the NSFs. They should also follow the guidelines of the Health Ministry."

The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc the world over with the international sporting calendar going haywire, with many events, including Olympic qualifiers, being either postponed or cancelled.

"The shooting World Cup is postponed, basketball Olympic qualifier is postponed. And they (the BCCI) decided to postpone it (IPL). It was a decision taken in the interest of the nation. Health must be a priority for everybody.

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