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Tokyo Olympics: What happens if an Indian athlete tests Covid positive? IOA joint secretary explains plan of action | Tokyo Olympics News – Times of India

July 26, 2021

NEW DELHI: With the rise in COVID-19 cases in the Olympic Village in Tokyo, the health and safety of the Indian contingent and other athletes staying there has become a big talking point.
India has sent 127 athletes (including reserves) to Tokyo – the largest Indian contingent ever at the Games.
Every federation and association has issued instructions and protocols, keeping their athletes’ safety in mind.
But what if an Indian athlete tests positive and during the quadrennial event?
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) joint secretary and the vice president of the Maharashtra Olympic Association Namdev Shirgaonkar spoke with in an exclusive interview and talked about the plan of action…
There are several cases of COVID-19 in the Olympics village. What is your message for the Indian athletes?
We’ve been through lockdowns, devastation and now you have this opportunity to see your dreams through despite this. Follow all the protocols given by the organisers, you have officers to help you at every step of the way. Maintaining distance is an absolute must, especially if it’s not a contact sport. Concentrate on your performance, don’t let anything come in the way.
The rules are strict and know what is at stake if you take the rules lightly. You don’t want to be responsible for just you but your entire contingent. All the arrangements have been taken care of. Most importantly, there is a doctor in the contingent for a reason, if there is the slightest discomfort that you feel, please reach out to him/her. Performance is a must. We are living in Covid-19 times, that is unavoidable, but it can be kept in control if the protocols are followed strictly.
If an Indian athlete tests positive, what will be the plan of action?
The first plan of action is for the athlete to inform the contingent management and the management in turn have to inform the concerned authorities. There are very strict guidelines in place that absolutely must be followed. I would personally very strictly like to tell everyone to not try and use extra strategies or extra ways to try and flout the rules to try and get around them. We do not need to come up with our own rules or procedures, because everything has been laid down very categorically.
Think of the Olympic Village as a place that is governed by a set of rules. Once again, understand what is on the line, along with your health, it is also your entire contingent’s health that could be affected, which will affect careers. Do not take this lightly. We have learnt time and again about the precautions that we have been following for the last 2 years. This will be your biggest weapon against Corona. Athletes must read all the guidelines. Defence is the best offence and personally being a fencer, I apply techniques of the game in life. Defend first and you’re in the best position to then attack. Again, please don’t use your own mind or rules, the rules have been chalked down by the authorities and must be followed.
There is a school of thought that this will be India’s most successful Olympics ever and India will bag the maximum number of medals in Tokyo. Your take on that…
When the contingent is at its highest, then definitely the odds increase. And the expectations from the prospects. The best way to check the number of medals – we must check their past and present performances. It also is based on such a wide array of conditions. But it is not wrong to expect a certain number of medals depending on the world rankings. We are a part of the Olympic movement now more than ever; we have not just gone to participate but to compete.
The support from the sports ministry and other officials has been so great and we must put the weight of the country behind these athletes. The fighting spirit of us Indians is beyond measure, the way we have moved through the waves of the pandemic is a testament to this fact. The athletes are smart to follow protocols and are ready to face this challenge.
We also have to keep in mind the qualification cycle and not just when it comes to talking about medals. There are various factors as to why even this contingent could have been bigger. Having said that, there is so much more potential for an even bigger contingent if we pay attention to other sports as well because there are several sports that we haven’t sent a contingent for.
PV Sindhu and Mary Kom will be chasing their second Olympic medals. Do you think either one or both can become a two-time Olympic medallist and match Sushil Kumar’s record?
My sincere opinion is that both of them are capable of getting their individual medals. I was a witness personally to Sindhu’s final and I understand the potential she has to convert that medal (into a gold) and we are looking forward to it. Mary Kom is a legend in her own right and will bring everything she has to achieve this feat and better the colour of her previous medal.

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