CHENNAI: In a very scary development, at least eight have tested Covid positive in Sports Authority of India's centre in Bengaluru. Suddenly, the training programme of elite athletes is getting affected.
What is equally disturbing is that an Olympic-bound athlete and a top middle-distance runner too have tested positive. That means athletes who were in the green zone at the National Centre of Excellence too have been infected.
The Green zone is the area where athletes, coaches and support staff train. Just a couple of weeks ago a top official and two others tested positive. Patiala NCOE is already reeling under Covid positive cases. Bhopal NCOE too had its share of cases. The SAI was forced to call from a three-week vacation for all athletes other than those who have qualified or preparing for qualification at various NCOEs across the country.
This recent development has come as a shocker for many athletes who are training in NCOE, Bengaluru. A woman race-walker who recently qualified for Olympics, a middle-distance runner, foreign coach (race-walking), Indian long-distance coach, physio and masseur too have tested positive.
It is understood that athletes are a bit anxious because the virus has penetrated their zone. One section felt that sports ministry should have initiated vaccination for at least those who have qualified for the Olympics because they cannot afford to miss practice.
In Patiala, the boxing team including coaches and support staff tested positive. Even in Delhi, where women boxers are training, a coach has tested positive.