Indoor and contact training for elite athletes in Scotland given go ahead

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Elite athletes in Scotland have been granted permission to resume indoor and contact training under safety protocols.

The step towards normality has been approved by the Scottish Government as part of its route map out of the coronavirus lockdown.

Sportscotland has published guidance for a range of sports following the easing of restrictions on training for performance and professional athletes, coaches and support staff.

The details follow news that Scottish Premiership football clubs were granted approval to resume contact training from Monday.

Government body Active Scotland has worked with sportscotland, the national sports agency, and other partners to develop the guidance.

The changes will allow small groups of athletes and staff to interact in close contact outdoors, while tackling will be allowed in team sports.

Indoor training is permitted for individuals subject to sportscotland Institute of Sport giving approval for each venue.

Each sport/club must nominate one member of staff as a Covid-19 officer to be responsible for risk assessments and also have a qualified physician named as a medical officer.

They must also carry out screening for symptoms, including temperature checks, before anyone enters the training environment.

The development will allow elite swimmers to get back into the pool over the coming week with the reopening of the National Swimming Academy in Stirling.

Scottish Swimming chief executive Euan Lowe said: “This is a good step in the right direction and will help our athletes keep their Olympic and Paralympic preparation on track.

“We have been working hard with partners sportscotland, British Swimming and the University of Stirling to support this process and see this as an important first step to help inform the wider return to aquatics across the whole sport.

“In the meantime guidance documents about a return to aquatics in Scotland continue to be developed in a careful and considered way for a return for the whole sport, with Scottish Swimming working with key partners including the Scottish Government, sportscotland, Public Health Scotland as well as pool providers from across Scotland.

“These documents can only be published once approved by sportscotland and the Scottish Government.”

Forbes Dunlop, the chief operating officer of sportscotland, said:  “We all want to see a return to sport at all levels as soon as it is safe to do so. This new guidance will be welcome news for performance and professional athletes in Scotland and those who work with them and represents a positive step as we seek to rebuild the sporting system at all levels.

“While this is good news, public health and well-being remains the most pressing priority. We must all continue to play our part in suppressing the spread of the virus by adhering to government guidance to ensure that the transition back to sport, at all levels, is as safe as possible.

“As we continue to move through the Scottish Government’s route map through and out of the Covid-19 pandemic, we will continue to work with our partners in Scottish Government, governing bodies of sport and local authorities to support the phased return of sport at all levels.”

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