Millennium Post (Kolkata)

21 at women's national boxing camp test COVID-19 positive

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NEW DELHI: Indian women's boxing's High Performanc­e Director Raffaele Bergamasco and head coach Mohammed Ali Qamar are among 21 campers who have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium here but none of the infected pugilists are bound for Olympics.

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) issued a statement to confirm the developmen­t at the national camp but did not give away names of those affected. However, a source close to the team said that the top members of the coaching staff are among those who have tested positive.

"Precaution­ary COVID tests were conducted at the National Coaching Camp for Elite Women Boxers at the Indira Gandhi Sports Complex in New Delhi and 21 campers, including players and coaching staff, have tested positive. None of them however are Olympicbou­nd boxers," the SAI stated.

All those who have tested positive are asymptomat­ic and they have been moved to a quarantine zone as per the SAI protocol. "The Olympicbou­nd boxers as well as other campers, who tested negative, are placed in a safe zone at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. It is SAI's utmost effort to ensure containmen­t of the spread of virus," it said.

The source revealed that the outbreak has resulted in training being halted for the time being.

"Both Raffaele and Ali Qamar are positive along with some other assistant coaches. Olympic-bound are not positive but they might have come in contact with those who have tested positive during sparring, this would need more monitoring," he said. "Everyone has been quarantine­d. No training for now," he added.

Another source said that Qamar's case could be of a false positive as he had recently recovered from the infection after returning from a Spanish tournament.

"He had recovered recently from COVID, it is very surprising that his test has come positive. He has no symptoms at all. It could be a case of his body still having some viral load," the source said.

The four women boxers who have qualified for the Games are M C Mary Kom(51kg), Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg).

Wednesday's developmen­t comes after 10 from the men's contingent tested positive for the dreaded virus in March at their training base in Patiala.

In view of the growing COVID-19 cases across the country, SAI is conducting weekly precaution­ary tests for athletes, support staff and administra­tion and strict quarantine norms have been set up.

A few days ago, SAI declared a three-week summer vacation at all its centres to deal with the surge in COVID-19 cases. However, it allowed training for the Olympic-bound in designated green zones.

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