India gov't launches special COVID-19 initiative for ex-international athletes

2021-05-09 22:06:07 GMT2021-05-10 06:06:07(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

NEW DELHI, May 9 (Xinhua) -- In a bid to ensure that ex-international athletes and coaches have access to medical, financial and logistical support over COVID-19, the Indian federal government has decided to set up a special support cell.

India is currently suffering a tough second wave of COVID-19. On Sunday, India's COVID-19 tally crossed the 22-million mark with 22,296,414 cases including 403,738 new infections. Sunday was also the second consecutive day when the Asian country reported over 4,000 deaths in 24 hours from the coronavirus epidemic.

The government's initiative aims to allow ex-international athletes and coaches to put forward their requirements for medical aid, oxygen, hospitalization and other support on an online platform.

The special support cell is set up in collaboration with the Indian Olympic Association and the Sports Authority of India, said an official statement issued by the federal Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

Concerning the initiative, Kiren Rijiju, minister of state of youth affairs and sports, said, "We stand by those who have contributed to sport in India all their lives and have brought laurels to the country. These are tough times and we want to ensure that our ex-athletes or coaches have a full support system to fight the COVID-19 pandemic."

Earlier this month, Rijiju said the federal government would provide extra support to Indian athletes in line with their special requirements, who, due to the pandemic, were facing complicated challenges in preparing for the Tokyo Olympics to be held in summer.