Where does India stand in sport

Tense corona situation in IndiaDifficult preparation before the Olympics

The corona situation in India is currently devastating: on Saturday alone (April 24th, 21) the country reported more than 340,000 new infections and 2,624 deaths. The numbers are also to be seen in the context of the population (almost 1.4 billion) - but the situation of the health system is dramatic. The government is trying to supply the completely overloaded hospitals with additional oxygen for artificial ventilation of Covid-19 patients. B.1.617, the double mutation of the coronavirus, as well as religious, political and sporting mass events are held responsible for the recent massive increase in the number of infections. In the hope that the worst of the Corona crisis would be over, the Indian authorities relaxed most of the requirements at the beginning of the year and allowed events from huge wedding celebrations to cricket games to religious ceremonies again.

"The situation in the hospitals is desolate," reports the correspondent Antje Stiebitz in a DLF interview from Delhi: "There is a lack of beds, there is a lack of oxygen." In addition, it is common in India for relatives to take care of the care in hospitals - which is of course not possible with Covid patients and therefore causes even more problems.

Stop-and-go in sports

Things recently looked better in India, too: the athletes have been training regularly since November and have taken part in national and international competitions, according to Stiebitz. For example, so-called bio-bubbles were formed in cricket: "This means that the players were only put in quarantine for 14 days and then played completely isolated for four weeks." But that is time-consuming and expensive and therefore cannot afford every sport. Cricket didn't go completely smoothly either: "Lately it's always been a stop-and-go." It was played and trained, but if the tests were positive, the players would have had to go into quarantine again and again.

Without fans, but at least in the game: The Indian national cricket team at the end of March against England. (MAGO / Focus Images)

There are clear hygiene rules for doing sports in India. These include safety distance, mouth and nose protection, disinfection, regular testing and also not participating in or postponing certain events or competitions, says Stiebitz: "However, these measures were then also - after the numbers had fallen - handled more laxly. " Two sports journalists would have confirmed this impression. For example, masks were not worn as intended at a national wrestling competition at the end of January.

Vaccinations before the Olympics are probably possible

At the moment, people aged 45 and over are being vaccinated in India. However, this age limit will be reduced to 18 on May 1st. For the Olympic athletes, this means that many of them can be vaccinated before the games, reports the correspondent.

(with material from AFP)