India's Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has said helping India's Olympic athletes is a priority ©Getty Images

Indian Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju has said national training camps will continue as the country seeks to enable Olympic athletes the opportunity to train ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Rijiju told the Times of India that the country has allowed training camps to resume in phases, depending on the situation in the respective states in India.

India has the third highest number of recorded coronavirus cases worldwide with over 1.1 million having been recorded since the start of the crisis, which has seen 27,707 deaths in the nation.

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) approved a standard operating procedure to allow national sporting centres to reopen in May, with athletes slowly being allowed to resume training.

Rijiju has said athletes expected to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games are the current priority, but other training camps will be able to resume soon.

Boxers were forced to undergo a further quarantine period at their training centre, following confirmation a team doctor tested positive last week.

"The boxers are already in Patiala, but are going through an extended quarantine," Rijiju told the Times of India.

"Once the quarantine is over, they will resume training as per the standard operating procedure laid down.

"The shooting facility has been opened up and all Olympic-bound shooters are free to resume their training.

"The other camps will surely start but the training of athletes bound for Tokyo is our priority at this juncture."

India's boxing team are undergoing an extended period of quarantine before training can resume ©Getty Images
India's boxing team are undergoing an extended period of quarantine before training can resume ©Getty Images

An investigation was reportedly launched earlier this month, after boxers Vikas Krishan, Neeraj Goyat and Satish Kumar were alleged to have breached quarantine rules.

It was claimed the three boxers tested negative for coronavirus on Thursday (July 9), which meant they were allowed into the National Institute of Sport centre in Patiala.

The athletes were expected to undergo a further week of quarantine on arrival under SAI protocols, but allegedly began mixing with other athletes in the centre.

Rijiju suggested that despite the alleged breach and the confirmed positive test of a team doctor, he was confident in the steps being taken to ensure a safe environment at training centres.

He pointed to positive feedback from athletes, while adding that they are aware of the importance of setting the correct example to others.

"Due care is being taken of athletes at Pariala and Bengaluru centres," Rijiju said.

"I had personally interacted with athletes and coaches of hockey, athletics and weightlifting while they were in the camps.

"They were very happy with the steps taken by SAI to maintain a sanitised atmosphere in the camps.

"The breach of quarantine by someone and the doctor contracting COVID-19 while in quarantine shouldn’t deter us, nor should these be seen as a shortcoming of the SOP document prepared for the camps.

"At the same time, all elite athletes are our national assets and role models for the nation.

"Athletes are conscious of the fact that they are setting an example for others.

"SAI will do whatever is best for athletes.

"The comfort and feedback of athletes is of paramount importance to us."