May 14, 2021

Sports Legend

‘COVID-19 wave ruined Olympic Games plans in India’

Neeraj Chopra
Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: The second wave of the coronavirus in India has ruined the preparation plans of top athletes for the Tokyo Olympics, says Adille Sumariwalla, president of the Indian Athletics Federation.

Despite good performances at the recent Federation Cup track and field championships, most athletes are hampered in their training.

“The ACFC has raised hopes for a good season ahead, but AFI’s roadmap for the Tokyo Olympics has been disrupted due to a pandemic outbreak in India. The overseas exhibition tours for high performance athletes did not go as planned due to travel restrictions put in place by several European countries for Indians and this made it more difficult to send the athletes abroad to train, ”Sumariwalla said.

Ten individual athletes, including javelin stars Neeraj Chopra and Shivpal Singh, secured places for the Tokyo Olympics. The national 4x400m mixed relay team has also reserved its place.

Last week, the national relay team were unable to travel to Poland to participate in the world relays and this really hampered their preparations.

“In these difficult times when the summer heat is skyrocketing in Patiala and in European countries that have 15-day quarantine rules in place for Indians, it is difficult to find a good place to train. With the Olympics just around the corner, a 15-day quarantine would completely ruin the show, ”Sumariwalla said.

Despite the setbacks, Sumariwalla hopes for a solution. “AFI is working to find the best place to train in Europe before the Olympics,” he said.

The Olympic Games are scheduled to take place in July-August.