Indian Olympic Association President Narinder Batra on Thursday called on national federations to be “conscious and vigilant” as they plan foreign training and competitions for their athletes, given the widespread “fear” of COVID-19 infection.
Batra said athletes and employees traveling abroad for training and competition should be careful and limit their movements. The number of cases of Indian COVID-19 in India on Thursday exceeded the limit of 3 varnishes with more than 2,000 deaths.
“Due to the ever-increasing number of COVID-19 cases, there is a fear of infecting athletes and camp staff and those planning to travel abroad,” Batra said in a statement addressed to members of the IOA and national federations.
“I advise / please be very conscious and careful before you decide to travel. Each of us has a responsibility to be very careful while traveling. We must limit our movements.”
The IOA chief’s advice came after judokas and boxers tested positive for the dreaded virus during tournaments abroad, leading to the withdrawal of entire Indian teams.
The 15-member judo team was forced to withdraw from the Olympic qualifiers for Asia and Oceania in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, after two judokas tested positive for COVID-19 just before the start of the tournament earlier this month.
Earlier, Olympic boxer Ashish Kumar tested positive for the horrific virus on the eve of the Boxam International final in Castellon, Spain, which led to his withdrawal along with that of Sumit Sangwan (81kg) and Mohamed Husamudin (57kg). who were his roommates.
In addition, aggressive testing of India’s sports body in various national camps has led to a significant number of positive cases at centers in Patiala, Bengaluru, Bhopal and Delhi.
Batra said federations should carefully check quarantine standards before sending athletes abroad, as different countries have different rules.
“Those traveling abroad must be familiar with local quarantine laws. It is reported that in some countries, foreign travelers must be quarantined for 14 days.
“In this case, athletes will not be able to train for such a long time, which could completely jeopardize the athletes’ training. Therefore (the obligation of) the federations, together with the athletes and officials, must make the due diligence before traveling abroad.”
The Athletics Federation of India plans to send javelin throwers, including Neeraj Chopra, and quarter-millionaires (including those for 4x100m and
4x400m relays) to Turkey later this month for a training tour.
A 20-member Indian track and field team will also take part in the World Relay, which will be held in Poland on May 1st and 2nd, with the top eight finalists in the 4x100m and 4x400m reserving automatic venues for the Tokyo Olympics.
“We must take full responsibility for travel and athletes must be aware of the consequences that may arise from the ongoing pandemic around the world. The dates for the Olympic Games are fast approaching and athletes, together with the Federation / SAI, are making every effort to ensure the best good preparation and competitions of athletes to participate in the Olympic Games. “
So far, about 80 Indian athletes have qualified for the postponed Olympics in Tokyo, which opens on July 23.