CHENNAI: WITH four wrestlers testing positive for COVID-19 after reaching SAI centre in Sonepat, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) is struggling to find replacements for those who skipped the camp for varied reasons. Given the reluctance especially after the COVID-19 scare at the centre, the federation has decided to name replacements only after the wrestlers give their consent.
“We don’t want to name a wrestler only to find that he is unwilling to join. We’ve decided to speak to the probable candidates and take their consent before asking them to join,” a source closely associated with the camp told this daily.
While most of the wrestlers named for the camp including Tokyo-bound Bajrang Punia (65kg) reached the venue on September 1, a few — in freestyle and Greco-Roman categories — didn’t turn up citing different reasons. Even Ravi Dahiya (57kg), who had qualified for the Olympics, reached the centre but applied for leave for a week saying he wants to appear in final year exams.
“Almost all elite wrestlers are here so it’s not an issue. We only need sparring partners. We can even call an U-23 wrestler for the camp if he agrees.”
Meanwhile, Rahul Aware, who tested positive on Sunday and was shifted to a SAI empanelled hospital, is symptomatic.
“I’ve fever, cold and cough,” he said. The wrestler tested negative ahead of the rehearsal a couple of days before the function in Pune. He, however, visited his home in Maharashtra after the function. “I’ve asked my parents, brother and other acquaintances to get themselves tested.”
Deepak Punia (86kg), Navin (65kg) Krishan (125kg) were among the first lot of wrestlers returning positive with Aware being the latest. Narsingh Yadav (74kg) also reached the centre on Sunday and underwent coronavirus test. His report is expected on Tuesday.