Squash stars resume training in Chennai as TNCA waits on government permission to reopen facilities

Chennai: India’s top woman squash player Joshna Chinappa on Monday resumed training at the ISA courts here after facilities reopened after being closed for almost five months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Training at the Indian Squash Academy (ISA) resumed for its elite athletes with SOPs laid out by the Tamil Nadu government/Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu, a press release from national federation SRFI said.

Apart from Joshna, the others who practised at the ISA were Velavan Senthilkumar, Abhay Singh and Aditya Raghavan.

“It feels good to be back. The academy is a place where I have been training at when am in Chennai since I was a teenager. So, it’s nice to be able to play there again. All of us are starting out slowly. Mainly just solo practice for now,” Joshna told PTI.

As many as 15 players trained on Monday and only players were allowed to come to the venue and not their family members, said SRFI secretary-general and former national coach Cyrus Poncha.

“Everything will be done in a phased manner and will be controlled,” Poncha said, adding that only players above the age of 15 years are allowed to train.

Meanwhile, cricketers will have to wait longer to to train as the authorities have yet to give the nod.

The Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) has written to the Chennai Corporation, requesting permission to open grounds or at least the MA Chidambaram (MAC) stadium in the city, for practice.

TNCA secretary RS Ramaswamy told PTI: “We have written to the Corporation seeking permission to open grounds or the MAC. There are plans to meet the Commissioner of the city civic body soon to obtain the nod needed for it.”

If the Corporation gives the go-ahead to open grounds, international and state cricketers from the state will be allowed to use the nets at the MAC.

The Tamil Nadu government has extended the lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19 till 31 August with some relaxations and had recently allowed stadiums to reopen without spectators.

Tennis players including Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Sasikumar Mukund and the others have been training at the SDAT Nungambakkam stadium here following all the safety protocols, a top TNTA official said.




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