In lieu with government’s ‘unlock’ guidelines, the athletes were glad to get back to their training routine, however, a few of them, unfortunately, contracted COVID-19.
India has seen a significant rise in the COVID-19 infections over the last few days. The country has overtaken Brazil in terms of number of active cases while over 62,000 people have lost their lives to the disease.
With in excess of 75,000 positive cases recorded over the past three consecutive days, the outbreak in India currently is worse than it was at the peak in the United States – the worst-hit nation in the world. On Thursday, India recorded 76, 826 coronavirus positive cases. The country’s trajectory of daily new cases of the coronavirus is now the highest ever recorded by any country.
Since the government started implementing the ‘unlock’ project, sporting activities around the country resumed albeit only in form of training and practice. The sports ministry is yet to give permission to organise sporting events in India, which led to Indian Premier League, a T20 extravaganza being moved to the UAE. While athletes were glad to get back to their training routine, a few of them, unfortunately, have contracted the infection.
Wrestler Vinesh Phogat took to twitter on Friday and revealed that she has tested positive for COVID-19. The 2018 Asian Games gold medallist wrote, “I have tested positive for COVID-19 in a test taken yesterday. I am currently showing no symptoms but have isolated myself. All my family members are also isolating. I would request everyone who has come in contact with me recently to get tested. Stay safe everyone! Thank you.”
I have tested positive for COVID-19 in a test taken yesterday. I am currently showing no symptoms but have isolated myself. All my family members are also isolating. I would request everyone who has come in contact with me recently to get tested. Stay safe everyone! Thank you 🙏
— Vinesh Phogat (@Phogat_Vinesh) August 28, 2020
The 26-year-old is among the five athletes to be named for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award this year. She couldn’t attend the virtual ceremony which was conducted across 11 SAI centres in various cities on Saturday.
Earlier, Vinesh raised concerns about safety when the federation planned to resume the national camp in Lucknow from 1 September. Later, the Sports Authority of India and the WFI decided to postpone the camp.
As many as six hockey players from men’s national team, including captain Manpreet Singh, were tested positive for COVID-19 when they were checked ahead of their camp at SAI’s Bengaluru campus. All six of them were later admitted to a Bengaluru hospital, but since then have recovered from the disease.
“Manpreet Singh, Surender Kumar, Jaskaran Singh, Varun Kumar, Krishan B Pathak and Mandeep Singh, who had tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month and were later shifted to hospital as a precautionary measure and for better monitoring were discharged from hospital earlier today,” the SAI said in a statement on 18 August.
Surender, though, has been readmitted after he developed swelling on his left arm, but SAI said he doesn’t have any COVID-19 symptoms.
According to PTI, a total of 33 male and 24 female players are in Bengaluru for the camp. The national camp is expected to continue till 30 September.
Indian badminton player Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, who was conferred with the Arjuna Award this year, also missed the virtual ceremony because of COVID-19. The 20-year-old men’s doubles player said he is yet to develop any symptoms of the infection and is in home quarantine. “It is unfortunately true. Few days back, I went for a test (antigen) and it has been five days since I have been in quarantine. I went for an RT-PCR (test) and that too came positive,” he said.
Earlier, N Sikki Reddy and physiotherapist Kiran Challagundla tested positive for the virus in SAI’s mandatory COVID tests at the SAI Pullela Gopichand academy, which was immediately closed down for sanitisation and the camp suspended for a few days.
However, on Saturday, the duo returned negative after they decided to get themselves tested again in a private hospital.
Sikki Reddy spoke about the abuse directed at her on social media when the news of her positive test came to light. “I haven’t been talking to anyone. In social media, people were saying that I should have stayed home and for me all would be getting the virus. I was shocked,” the 26-year-old told PTI.
“I didn’t know how to react, I mean, I had gone to the academy to train, I didn’t go to a restaurant to dine. But I stayed calm because I was waiting for the results.”
In July, Arjuna awardee and ace para-badminton player Ramesh Tikaram died due to coronavirus.
Chennai Super Kings’ COVID-19 reports
On Saturday, reports emerged that a current India player from the CSK squad and multiple members have been tested positive for the virus.
The franchise is yet to issue a formal statement but according to a PTI report, the number of positive cases could be between 10 and 12.
“Yes, a right-arm medium fast bowler, who has recently played for India in white-ball cricket, along with a few staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. The number could be as high as 12,” the senior IPL source said on conditions of anonymity.
On Sunday, CSK’s Suresh Raina headed back home and will miss the entire tournament due to personal reasons.
Reports also suggested that one more Indian player from CSK’s squad tested positive for COVID-19. According to PTI, the player in question is a right-handed top-order batsman, who has been a part of India A teams and has been a prolific performer in Ranji Trophy.
Apart from the above mentioned athletes, Chetan Chauhan, a former cricketer and politician passed away this month at the age of 73 due to COVID-19-related complications.
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