Athletes returning to training, competition ban to be lifted for individual sports

Ljubljana, 30 April - Education and Sports Minister Simona Kustec has announced Slovenian athletes will be able to start training again next week, while the government is also lifting most of the restrictions pertaining to competitions in individual sports.

Qatar, Doha.
Track and field stadium
Photo: Jože Zidar/STA

"We are also lifting measures for competitive sports. This will primarily apply to individual sports and under specific security conditions also to collective sports. Competitions in individual sports will also be allowed, but without spectators," the minister told commercial broadcaster POP TV on Wednesday, adding she hoped competitions would be broadcast live.

Training sessions are expected to resume on 4 May. "We just need to check the security measures with the National Institute for Public Health. The protocol is progressing well and we expect this will be the date when sport will be reactivated," she said.

While Slovenian athletes will thus be joining their colleagues in Croatia, Austria and elsewhere in Europe in returning to training, competitions are not expected shortly, since Slovenian athletes abandoned organised practice sessions in mid-March when the coronavirus epidemic was declared.

Minister Kustec was not available for detailed explanations at Thursday's government briefing on the coronavirus state of play, but the government's chief medical adviser for the epidemic, Bojana Beović, urged caution.

Not yet able to provide any timelines and specific guidelines for team sports and contact sports, she suggested teams could resume with training but individually. Group sessions would only make sense if a team secluded itself, imposing a kind of quarantine on all players, she argued.

The first partial lifting of lockdown restrictions in sports occurred on 20 April when a limited number of outdoor sports facilities, including tennis courts, golf courses and bowls pitches, were reopened for recreational purposes.

© STA, 2020