LAHORE: The workers, trainers, jockeys, owners and stewards of Lahore Race Club (LRC) are relieved to have got the permission from the local government to resume weekly races at the club.
Now with the government permission, there will be races once a week at the LRC course amid strict COVID-19 precautionary SOPs and without spectators. To resume the activity, the LRC has decided to have a simple start from coming Wednesday and most probably there will be seven plate races, said an official of the club.
“The races will resume on Wednesday without spectators. No crowd will be allowed. It will be held behind closed arena as per SOPs, laid out by the government,” secretary LRC Shahzad Akhtar told ‘The News’.
The official further said that the Punjab government has permitted LRC to hold professional races once a week with COVID-related SOPs.
In a letter to the LRC, Punjab governmnet’s primary and secondary health care department stated: “The LRC request has been examined and the competent authority is pleased to grant permission to Lahore race club for holding professional races without spectators, once a week, subject to adoption of SOPs and guidelines.”
Last month the LRC planned nine races along with Eid Cup with strict instructions to be followed by the general public coming to see the races. But they were not given a green signal by the city government.
An official of the LRC said that LRC is a private entity and it earns only when races are held. Because there has been no race since March 9, the club has been in dire straits, he added. “We are facing too much difficulty to meet the operational expenses. Let’s hope for the best,” said the official.
He said they were prepared to resume races on June 7 but were made to postpone it following the government’s directives as the pandemic spread rapidly after Eid. “We are aware of the financial needs of the fraternity linked with the sport but we too are in great difficulty,” he added.
He further said that all major activities are on a standstill until the next announcement from the government.
The workers at the club have been the main sufferers because their earned due to the weekly races.