The PUNE Sports tournaments which started to resume in the city since October after an 18-month gap are again under threat due to the increase in Omicron cases.
Organizers are struggling as they face the added pressure of running things under a new set of restrictions that increases the financial burden on them. Players also face tough times as they have to rework their plans.
The city hosted a National Senior Hockey Tournament at Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium in Pimpri last week, while a major tennis club in the city – Deccan Gymkhana has hosted two ITF tennis tournaments and is currently hosting the 20th edition. of the NECC Deccan ITF $25,000 Women’s Tennis Tournament.
Along with national and international tournaments, district basketball, football and cricket tournaments are also taking place in the city.
“Even before the start of the tennis tournaments, we strictly adhered to the standards and regulations of Covid-19. In the first two tournaments (ITF Grade 3 and B1 Asian Junior Championship) we allowed the public to watch the game, but now in the last tournament we do not allow the public in the stadium,” explained Ashwin Girme , secretary of the tennis department. at the Deccan Gymkhana.
Organizers have created an additional bio-bubble for the women’s tournament with players from Japan, Czech Republic, Latvia and Kazakhstan taking part in the tournament.
“The majority of players stay at the Deccan Gymkhana Hotel. We make sure there is no breach of the bio bubble and we don’t allow any strangers near the courts. Even ball boys and other support staff routinely perform RT-PCR testing during tournaments, even if they have completed the double vaccination,” Girme said.
Since October, the Pune District Basketball Association has held ten age group tournaments in the city and none of them have tested positive for the virus.
“All our activities are going as if they were placed earlier, even the National Basketball Championships are continuing in Indore. Trainings at major clubs are continuing and we hope to continue in the same way,” said Lalit Nahata, Vice President of the Pune District Basketball Association.
Dashrath Birhamane, a basketball coach, said: “All players are strictly following Covid-19 protocols when off the court so management becomes easy for us. Players benefit from regular training hours.
City tennis player Vaishnavi Adkar, who has played in three ITF tournaments, one each in Guwahati, Delhi and Pune, said: “Organizers are strictly following Covid-19 standards and players from all the state supports them in the same way. I just hope Omicron doesn’t ruin future tennis tournaments across the country.
So far, the district administration has not imposed any additional restrictions on sports activities in the city.