The Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Wednesday informed that thirty sportspersons and support staff across disciplines were found to be COVID-19 positive after 741 precautionary tests were conducted at the National Centres of Excellence in Patiala and Bengaluru.
However, the positive results in both the centers do not include any Tokyo Olympic-bound athlete.
India’s men’s boxing chief coach CA Kuttappa and shot-put coach Mohinder Singh Dhillon are among the ones who have tested positive for the Covid-19 in the recent drive at the National Institute of Sports (NIS), an SAI source confirmed to PTI.
While 26 were found to be positive in Patiala and the Bengaluru stood at four. However, a statement was later issued by the SAI which said that 313 and 428 tests were conducted in Patiala and Bengaluru respectively.
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The SAI statement read, “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 indicate that all Olympic-bound athletes at both centers are COVID negative.”
The SAI source said, about 16 sportspersons were quarantined including 10 boxers and six track and field athletes. Out of 26 positive cases in Patiala, 16 are sportspersons and the rest are support staff, according to reports.
In Bengaluru, a race-walking coach is among those who have tested positive for the virus. “…the good thing is that all positive cases are not Olympic-bound athletes. The positive athletes have been isolated and the entire campus has been sanitized.”
The SAI source also confirmed that the positive cases in both the centers will have no bearing on the preparation of India’s Olympic-bound athletes.
All weightlifters housed at the premier sports institute have returned negative for the virus.
“There is no question of training being suspended. The COVID positive cases have been isolated separately inside the color-coded SAI campuses and they are doing fine with no serious medical issues,” the source said.
Asian silver-medallist Deepak Kumar and India Open gold-medallist Sanjit are among the boxers who tested positive for Covid-19. While the NIS Patiala is primarily the base of Olympic-bound boxers, track and field athletes, and weightlifters along with sportspersons from some other disciplines.
According to another source, “Some more test results are awaited at this point.”
The Olympic Games are scheduled to be held in July-August later this year.
The athletes who are preparing for the big event have begun travelling outside the country for training and competition after spending several months either staying at home or being confined to their hostel rooms.