NTU sports team training suspended after Covid-19 rules flouted

  • Groups of more than 30 people were seen playing together on the SRC field 
  • Teams and clubs should review training procedures to be in line with safe management measures, said NTU
  • The time-out only applies to sports activities under NTU Student Sports; other students may continue to train

By Yong Hui Ting
Photo and additional reporting by Chong Xin Wei

Varsity team activities will be suspended from next Monday (Oct 19) to Sunday (Oct 25), after students were caught flouting safe management measures during training.  

The time-out applies to NTU sports team training both on and off campus, NTU Student Sports said in an announcement that was circulated among varsity sports groups on Thursday (Oct 15). 

The Weights Training Gym at The Wave, open to varsity team members only, will also be closed during this period, they added. 

The suspension was issued to remind sports teams of the importance of strictly complying with the advisories for sport activities amid the pandemic, NTU told Soapbox. 

“The time-out period allows the teams and clubs to review their training procedures and processes to be in line with current safe management measures,” NTU added. 

The suspension only applies to sports activities organised by varsity teams and groups under NTU Student Sports, but other students may continue to conduct training by booking school facilities. 

Large groups playing sports 

Students who used the sport facilities told Soapbox they often saw large groups playing together on campus. 

On one occasion, Track and Field athlete Khairyll Amri, 27, said he saw groups of more than 30 people playing on the field at the Sports and Recreation Centre (SRC). 

The final-year Sports Science & Management student, who has been training for an upcoming competition, said he was angered by the suspension. “My teammates and I followed the rules, yet we have been banned from training because other people did not follow the rules,” he said.

Khairyll said while he understood why training was suspended, he does not understand why non-varsity players are exempt from the time-out. 

“If it’s a ban then it should apply to everyone,” he said.

Floorballer Pearlyn Chang, 21, said she saw the basketball courts at the SRC packed every time she went for training on Mondays and Wednesdays.

“I saw many people just joining in the basketball games and it didn’t look like they were from the varsity team. Anyone could just walk in for a game as no bookings are needed here,” said the third-year Communication Studies student. 

Banyan Hall sports director Ho Jin Xuan, 21, said that captains of sports teams from the Hall of Residence must submit proposals with their training plan and safe management considerations before conducting any training. 

However, the Business student added that while students need to book the use of the field at the SRC, it is difficult to stop others from simply entering the premises to play on their own.

“Sometimes in the evening, there are more than 10 people playing their own games. They are clearly not part of any training,” he said.

Varsity athlete Ho Jun Hao, 21, was surprised when he heard about the time-out as he thought most students were obeying the rules. 

The Computer Science freshman said: “The groups are spread out during training. We have training attendance and each court will be limited to five people. There is strictly no intermingling between the courts.”

NTU urged students to comply with advisories for sport activities from Sport Singapore and national sports associations amid the pandemic.

The university added that students who “intentionally or recklessly threaten” the health and safety of the University community may face disciplinary action. 

Update [17 October 2020]: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the suspension only applied to sports activities under NTU Sports Club. It has since been corrected to NTU Student Sports.

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