Olympian Dipa Karmakar at Netaji Subhash Regional Coaching Centre on Monday

Agartala: Five months after the Tripura government announced the closure of gymnasiums due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus, the yoga, table tennis and gymnasts returned to the pavilion here on Monday.

With the order of the state government for the closure of gymnasiums, the Netaji Subhash Regional Coaching Centre (NSRCC) indoor stadium had remained closed since March 17 last. On Monday with the relaxations announced by the centre and state, the indoor stadium was reopened on Monday afternoon.

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Speaking with reporters, Olympian and Padmashri Dipa Karmakar said that she has returned to NSRCC indoor stadium after almost five and a half months wait and she felt happy coming back to the sports equipment once again.

“I have remained at home for the last five and a half months. We sportsperson tend to become mentally weak when away from our apparatus for a longer period. My coach (Bisweswar Nandi) sir made us continue the fitness training through online mode all this while. I am happy to return here and would like to thank the state and central government for allowing us to return to our sports. We will do our best to maintain social distancing and other guidelines while practice sessions,” the golden girl said.

She also said that the focus would be now on regaining her usual performance level since she has remained almost five months away from the gymnastics mat.

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Dipa, widely known as golden girl of India for her Produnova vault performance in the 2016 Rio Olympics was also accorded with Padma Shri award followed by Arjuna award and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.

Dhronacharya awardee and Dipa’s coach, Biswesawar Nandoi said that due to the pandemic all the scheduled programmes were postponed. Now, the players would focus on their fitness and gradually regain their old performance level.

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Meanwhile, the Tripura Sports Council joint secretary, Saraju Chakraborty said the halls were sanitized, while players were screened through thermal machines at the entry gate on Monday.

“For now only a selected group of players of above 14 years of age are allowed to practice and train at the first phase. We will work in this manner until further orders are made by the authorities. Social distancing and standard operating procedure will be followed by all the players,” Chakraborty said.

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