NEW DELHI: The COVID-19 pandemic has not only affected athletes with regards to their training and competition, now the virus has ended up creating a rift between the recurve and compound archers too. On Saturday, India’s compound team was left in the lurch because a coach tested Covid positive. In the end the team, was forced to withdraw from World Cup Stage I in a bizarre manner.
Both the teams — eight recurve and as many compound, were set to travel to Guatemala City on Friday. The mandatory RT-PCR tests yielded one positive result, that of a compound team coach based in SAI Sonepat. The remaining compound contingent all had negative reports and so boarded a car from the premises and were on the way towards the airport when the entire issue began.
But on Saturday after the coach underwent another RT-PCR test, it came out to be negative. However, the team has already been withdrawn from the tournament and the false positive test is not the best look for the federation.
The recurve archers had a meeting with the federation wherein they informed that they were not willing to travel with the compound contingent as they were all contacts of the coach. The compound archers also called up Archery Association of India and said they had with them negative reports and should not be ignored like this. A meeting ensued between the AAI chief Arjun Munda, other officials and SAI. During that meeting, the compound team was forced to wait inside their vehicle in the middle on the Sonepatat-Delhi highway till the federation took a decision. The president finally decided, keeping all SAI protocols in mind, that the compound team should not board the flight.
“We requested the federation to allow us to travel in a different flight which we would pay for but they refused. Our competitions are on different dates, we were allotted separate hotels there as well so it would not have been a problem. How can people with negative reports be denied the chance to travel and represent the nation?” one of the compound archers said.
While government protocols dictate primary contacts need to be isolated and tested, there is also the possibility of false positives, argued the compound archers. The compound group have also raised questions like why the RT-PCR was not conducted earlier. “Now that the report has come out to be negative, the athletes who were denied will not be pleased. Issue was the recurve team getting involved,” was how he put it.