A mini crisis has hit Indian sport after 30 sportspersons and support staff across various disciplines tested positive for the coronavirus at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Centres of Excellence in Bengaluru and Patiala. A total of 741 tests -- precautionary screening -- were conducted at the centres, the SAI confirmed on Wednesday.
SAI issued a statement that 26 were found Covid-19 positive from the 313 tests conducted in Patiala while four were found carrying the virus from 428 tests in Bengaluru.
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"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 centres are COVID negative," the SAI statement read.
The athletes who have tested positive do not include anyone who has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. India's men's boxing chief coach CA Kuttappa and shot put coach Mohinder Singh Dhillon are among those who have tested positive, a SAI source confirmed to PTI.
It is learnt that out of the 26 positive cases in Patiala, 16 are sportspersons and rest are support staff. The 16 quarantined sportspersons include 10 boxers and six track and field athletes, the SAI source said. In Bengaluru, a race walking coach is among those who have tested positive for the virus.
All weightlifters housed at the centre have returned negative for the virus. The SAI source also confirmed that the positive cases in both the centres will have no bearing on the preparation of India's Olympics-bound athletes.
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"There is no question of training being suspended. The COVID positive cases have been isolated separately inside the colour-coded SAI campuses and they are doing fine with no serious medical issues," the source said.
The NIS Patiala is primarily the base of Olympic-bound boxers, track and field athletes and weightlifters along with sportspersons from some other disciplines. The boxers who have tested positive include Asian silver-medallist Deepak Kumar and India Open gold-medallist Sanjit. Indian boxing is already reeling under the coronavirus with eight members of the squad which took part in a tournament in Turkey testing positive and getting quarantined in the country last week.
(With inputs from PTI)
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