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Indian Boxing Team Doctor Tests Positive for Covid-19, Athletes to be Retested

The positive test caps a disastrous week for the boxing federation which had decided to resume a training camp at the NIS, Patiala. Ever since announcing resumption various issues have dogged them, including athletes pulling out, flouting of quarantine protocols.
Indian boxing team doctor tests positive for Covid-19

Dr. Amol Patil, who tested positive, had accompanied the Indian boxing team to the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the World Championships last year.

Indian boxing’s bad run post resumption of training continued with a doctor associated with the team testing positive for Covid-19. Following the positive result, all players and staff were tested but have come back with negative reports. The National Institute of Sports (NIS), Patiala, was supposed to host the training camp but now there exists the strong possibility that it will be cancelled.

The 11 boxers in camp, including Asian Games champion and world silver medal holder Amit Panghal, are going to be tested again for Covid-19 since they were in the same facility as the infected doctor.

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"Dr Amol (Patil) was quarantined in a centre outside the main campus of National Institute of Sports (NIS) Patiala. As per protocol, before he is allowed to enter the main hostel and sports arena, he was given the Covid test on the 7th day (of quarantine) and tested positive," the Sports Authority of India said in a statement to PTI.

"He has been shifted to the state-run Covid centre. Those who are identified as primary contact will be tested tomorrow. The quarantine period for all persons staying in the same quarantine facility has been extended by one week. The centre has been sterilised as per protocol," it added.

While the boxers tested negative for the virus, they will be tested again as a precautionary measure. 

"Dr Patil is completely asymptomatic, not even mild symptoms are there. He will recover soon enough," said a source close to the team.

The Indian contingent was quarantining at the STC boys’ hostel at the polo ground that is outside the NIS campus. Patil and other coaching staff members were staying separately, on a different floor.

Indian men’s team chief coach CA Kuttappa, women’s team head coach Mohammed Ali Qamar and assistant coach, Kheemanand Beniwal, will be tested again on Tuesday, since they were in constant contact with Patil. Patil has been one of the team doctors for the Indian boxers and had accompanied them to the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the World Championships last year.

The decision to bring in boxers for the camp had been made barely ten days back, and at the time 13 men and six women boxers were expected to attend it. Three women boxers declined to attend the camp. Mary Kom was among those who said she would continue training at her home in Delhi.

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SAI’s boxing specific protocols were set to ensure that boxers not do any form of human sparring. They also advised against using the ring and encouraged the use of personal equipment for all forms of training to curb the threat of the virus. 

All boxers were offered cover for Covid-19 in their medical insurance, as per the SOP made by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI). The boxers and the federation have also been asked to sign consent forms acknowledging the risk of resumption before being allowed back at the SAI centre.

Despite all the precautions, barely four days back -- one week into the camp -- a trio of boxers were found to have flouted quarantine protocols set by the NIS, which launched an inquiry committee to look into the circumstances leading to misconduct. The trio of boxers named were Tokyo bound boxers Vikas Krishan and Satish Kumar, and pro boxer Neeraj Goyat. All three were asked to leave the national camp.

Furthermore SAI also took action against the NIS’s executive director Col. Raj Singh Bishnoi and asked him to relinquish his duties also ordered him to return to SAI headquarters in Delhi. SAI Sonepat’s regional director (RD), Lalita Sharma has been given temporary charge.

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