Thirty sportspersons and support staff across disciplines tested positive for Covid-19 even as questions are being raised on why the government is not expediting the vaccination process for the lympic-bound athletes.
Even though those 30 who tested positive do not include any Tokyo Olympic-bound athlete, it has been learnt that men’s boxing chief coach CA Kuttappa and shot put coach Mohinder Singh Dhillon have contracted the dreaded virus.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) said on Wednesday that it had conducted 741 precautionary tests at the National Centres of Excellence in Patiala (313) and Bangalore (428).
“Keeping the safety of Olympic-bound athletes, coaches and support staff in mind, the SAI conducted precautionary RT-PCR tests at National Centre of Excellence in Patiala and Bengaluru.
“The reports received today (Wednesday) indicate that all Olympic-bound athletes at both centres are Covid-19 negative.
“Of the 313 tests conducted in Patiala, 26 people have tested positive, while out of the 428 tests conducted in Bengaluru, four have been found Covid-19 positive.
“Those who have tested positive are being isolated in the residential facilities within the campus.
“The campus has been sanitised and all precautionary measures are being taken to ensure complete safety of athletes,” the SAI statement read.
“It’s a sort of mixed reaction. While it’s bad that athletes have tested positive, the good part is we do not have any of the Olympic-bound sportspersons on that list.
“According to the norms, testing will be done every week,” Athletic Federation of India president Adille Sumariwallah told The Telegraph.
When asked if the government is dilly-dallying for too long on the vaccination process, he said: “It’s not like that. The agencies concerned are at work. It will start soon.
“There is a common perception that once you are vaccinated, you are safe from the virus. But that’s wrong.”