CHENNAI: Strict COVID-19 guidelines will be in place when the Senior National Wrestling Championship begins with competitions in men's freestyle category on January 23.
All the participants will be required to submit COVID negative report on their arrival. The referees may sport face shields during the bouts as was seen during the Individual World Cup held recently in Belgrade, Serbia.
The Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is expected to come up with comprehensive sanitary protocols soon. The two-day freestyle event will be held in Noida while the women's championship will be organised in Agra on January 30 and 31. The federation has yet not decided dates and venue for competition in Greco-Roman category, but it is expected to be held in Punjab in February.
"All the participants have to bring negative RT-PCR report issued no earlier than 36 hours before their arrival at the venue," Vinod Tomar, WFI's assistant secretary, told this daily. The federation has also issued circular to its affiliated units inviting them to participate in the championship. In the circular, the WFI has specifically mentioned that each unit would be entitled to send 10 wrestlers and two coaches in each style due to the pandemic.
However, previous year champions in various styles are eligible to send two wrestlers per weight category. The circular also emphasises on the need to maintain social distance during verification. "No wrestler except those whose weigh-in is next day will be allowed at the verification area. In case found, he/she will be disqualified from the competition," read the circular.
Speaking on safety protocols, a WFI official said on condition of anonymity, "The guidelines are being framed. The world body (United World Wrestling) successfully organised World Cup in Serbia. We will certainly consider the UWW's protocols before finalising ours. These guidelines would be sent to all participating members to ensure safety to our athletes and other stakeholders."
The UWW had prepared sanitary protocols for participants. It also conducted research on all athletes by monitoring their body temperatures at different times and using different equipment. The wrestlers were also made to sign an undertaking. Referees wore face shields during the bouts as a precautionary measure. "We are taking opinions from experts. We will also have to abide by rules and regulations of the state government and district administration where the tournament is being organised," added the official.