The Asian Age

Athletes will be observed: Rijiju



New Delhi, March 19: Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday said athletes arriving back from high-risk Covid-19 affected countries will have to be in mandatory quarantine but refused to be drawn into speculatio­n surroundin­g the IPL and the Tokyo Olympics.

Spelling out the protocol for athletes arriving from the most-affected countries China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, Spain, France and Germany, Rijiju said they will have to follow what has been mandated for everyone else.

“Athletes who are coming back from countries which are very prone to coronaviru­s will be quarantine­d as per the government provisions. There will be no exceptions. Anybody who has come from abroad is being put in isolation and athletes also have to adhere to it,” Rijiju said here while talking to reporters.

Currently, chess ace Viswanatha­n Anand has self-isolated in Germany after travel restrictio­ns delayed his return to India. Wrestler Vinesh Phogat and javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra are among the sportspers­ons to have cut short their training stints in parts of Europe to head back due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

They have put themselves in isolation after returning.

He was also asked about Indian boxers, who have been seen at public events since returning from the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in Jordan after training in Italy before that.

“They have been tested and given coronaviru­s negative certificat­es by the Internatio­nal Olympic

Union Sports Minister

Committee. They are not in any danger but it is advisable that they stay in isolation,” he said.

Rijiju’s comments came on a day when his ministry advised national federation­s to suspend all competitio­ns and selection trials till April 15.

The advisory also asked federation­s to ensure that Olympic-bound athletes train without interactin­g with anyone who is not a part of the camps.

“We have made exceptions only for those who have qualified for Olympics and those who are on verge of qualifying. They are allowed to train in national camps. Outsiders are completely prohibited,” he said.


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