Post relaxations, golf, tennis take lead in opening in Chandigarh tricity
Sports in the tri-city is stirring awake from a two-month hibernation imposed to contain Covid, with golf and tennis taking first tentative steps in offering players some hope of returning to normalcy.
Chandigarh Golf Club was at the heart of activity today with as many as 160-170 golfers, wearing masks, teeing off and getting the first feel of the greens. The club saw stars including—Jeev Milkha Singh, Shubhankar Sharma and Karandeep Kochhar playing a round each.
In tennis, Zirakpur-based Roots Tennis Academy opened its door to tournament groups and veteran players on Wednesday. Following safety procedures wherein only singles practice was held, and sanitising everything, including equipment, before entering and after leaving court, around 10 players had their first session in the morning at the academy.
“Only two players per court are allowed. Players are required to wear masks and maintain social distancing. We had a three tournament group players (above 18 years) and five veteran players. We have marked individual balls to serve and play for both players,” said Gaurav Chadha, the owner and coach who also runs other centres in the tricity.
Meanwhile, CGC also took all precaution for a safe round of golf, including masks and social distancing. “Today, we had full strength on the course, with all slots booked. Earlier, there used to be an eight-minute gap between two groups, but now we have increased the gap to 15 minutes for better social distancing,” says Sandeep Singh Sandhu (Bobby), CGC president. Sandhu added that all members have followed safety protocols. “Earlier, on busy day we had up to 500 golfers playing in a day, but now we will allow up to 170.”
“It’s unusual to play while wearing a mask but let’s face reality and get used to it,” said Jeev, who teed off in an afternoon session.
Many other sports discipline centres have opted to wait for standard operating procedures (SOP) from the government or sports department before they resume operations. Total Tennis Academy, which runs many centres in Chandigarh, including one in Sector-11 YMCA, have decided to wait and watch through the week.
Chadha, however, was optimistic about having his centre up and running by June 1. “I am thinking of starting full sessions by June 1. With six courts, I could accommodate 12 players and have 2-3 sessions in a day. In between, we will sanitise the entire centre,” he added.
Chandigarh Lawn Tennis Association (CLTA) is hopeful of getting SOPs from both UT sports department and All India Tennis Association (AITA) and aspires to begin operating this weekend.
“The management will take a look at the SOPs and we could have things in place by this weekend. Needless to say, but safety of trainees and staff is of utmost importance,” said Megh Raj, chief operating officer of CLTA.
Meanwhile, PU sports director Parminder Singh said, “We are working on the modalities of how to resume sports activities. In coming days, we will release the SOP and gradually begin activities.”