Government to bear charter flight costs of judokas for Israel tournament

Tulika was all praise for the Sports Authority of India (SAI), saying the support has motivated them to win laurels for the country. “The support is phenomenal.

CHENNAI: Avtar Singh and his family had to mortgage their house and spend all their savings to ensure he participated in the 2016 Rio Olympics. The story has not changed much as far as country’s judokas are concerned. These lesser-known athletes from the country will experience something new when they board a charter flight from Istanbul, Turkey to participate in a meet in Israel.

Due to strict Covid-19 guidelines, normal flights are not allowed in Israel. Given the situation, the judokas, who will compete in the Tel Aviv Grand Slam slated from February 18 to 20, have to board the charter flight from Istanbul.

The Central government will bear the expenses including the cost of the charter flight.
“I’m excited as this will be the first time we will be boarding a charter flight. The priority is to give our best in the tournament,” Tulika Mann (78kg), one of the two Indian women judokas who is set to compete in the event, told this daily.

Tulika was all praise for the Sports Authority of India (SAI), saying the support has motivated them to win laurels for the country. “The support is phenomenal. Now, we want to repay the faith shown on us. Besides, the three months of training at Bhopal SAI centre has prepared us better for the tournament.” Apart from Tulika, three men judokas, Avtar (100kg), Vijay Yadav (60kg) and Jasleen Singh Saini (66kg) and another woman player Shushila Devi (48kg) will participate in the event.

They will be accompanied by chief coach Jiwan Sharma.  The Indian team will leave on February 15. They need to take the RT-PCR test twice and return negative before flying out for Israel. “We  have taken a test and will take another one 48 hours after the first. We can board flight only if we return negative,” said coach Sharma. The Indian squad have to stay in isolation once they land in Tel Aviv. “We will be tested immediately at the airport and may have to isolate ourselves till the time we return negative. We will be apprised of the guidelines soon. We’ve to take a second test as well in the country,” he added.

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