Covid strikes elite coaching centres

Today News Online Service

Chandigarh, March 31

Amid mounting Covid cases in Punjab, as many as 26 national level athletes, coaches and support staff tested positive for the coronavirus at National Institute Sports (NIS) here. However, no Olympics-bound athlete tested positive in the sampling.

Those who tested positive would be quarantined at the campus itself, said NIS officials. Those who have been tested positive include national boxing coach CA Kuttappa, national shot-put coach Mohinder Singh Dhillon, athletics coach Kamal Ali Khan, boxer Deepak Kumar, Naveen Boora and Sanjeet. Besides, Saira Banu, a masseuse, also tested positive.

Positivity rate at NIS Patiala is said to be very high wherein 313 samples had been taken, of which 26 tested positive. Out of the 428 samples taken in Bengaluru, only four tested Covid-positive.

“Both the campuses have already been sanitised and all precautionary measures are being taken to ensure complete safety of athletes,” Sports Authority of India (SAI) said in a statement.

Patiala hostels

Meantime, it has been learned that NIS authorities had already converted hostels and training areas of the national campers into a green zone and others were not allowed to enter the said zone. However, all the security guards deployed at and near the hostels — including the security in-charge, a handball coach — ironically, had been coming from outside the campus regularly. Moreover, national campers and coaches were not following Covid norms, the sources.

It may be recalled that a four-day senior National Athletics Championship was held at NIS on March 15-19. Hundreds of athletes and organisers from various parts of the country had taken part in the event.

After today’s cases, Patiala Health Department said that they were not taken in loop by the health department of NIS at any point. Patiala Health officials said that NIS did not inform them even after so many persons tested positive.

A senior official of the health department said, “We were not informed at all by NIS. We will ask for a report from the NIS authorities in this regard.”

Possible reasons

  • Four-day National Athletics was held at NIS on March 15-19. Hundreds of athletes and organisers had come from all over the country
  • The security guards deployed at and near the hostels had been coming from outside campus
  • National campers and coaches were not following Covid norms

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