Athletes who are competing in the National Junior Championships, starting this Saturday in Guwahati, will not be provided even drinking water by the organisers, forget boarding and lodging, due to which some athletes have borrowed money to travel all the way to Assam and compete. An athlete from a northern state said he has borrowed around Rs 12,000 to travel by rain to Guwahati -- a 36-hour journey from his home city -- and has made his own boarding and lodging arrangements so that he could compete in the five-day championships.
The unprecedented decision to not provide boarding and lodging facilities has been taken as per the guidelines enumerated in the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of the Assam Athletics Association (AAA), said its secretary.
"We aren't allowed to even provide drinking water to athletes [during the championships]. This is being done keeping in mind health and safety of the athletes and to avoid spread of the Covid-19 virus," AAA secretary Ashok Kumar told IANS over the phone from Guwahati.
And, as per the SOP of the Assam government, it is mandatory for athletes to carry a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test report to avail accommodation in Guwahati. "It's also compulsory for athletes to provide a negative report to compete. If someone doesn't have he/she will not be allowed to enter the competition," said Kumar.