The Archery Association of India (AAI) on Thursday announced the withdrawal of its team of Indian archers from the upcoming Asia Cup world ranking tournament in Bangkok slated to begin from March 8 to 15 amid fears of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The season-opening stage 1 tournament was scheduled to take place in Thailand’s capital and it would have been India's first international competition since their return from a five-month suspension in January, which was only recently lifted after the AAI elections.
"After reviewing the current alarming situation on account of coronavirus and taking into consideration the travel advisories issued by SAI and IOC,” AAI assistant secretary Gunjan Abrol wrote to World Archery secretary general Tom Dielen.
“Archery Association of India is worried about the health of our team and cannot take any risk under the circumstances. Hence it has been decided to withdraw the team from the Asia Cup Stage 1 World Ranking Archery tournament to be held in Bangkok from March 8-15," Gunjan Abrol added.
India had earlier planned to send a second-string team for the tournament but later changed their mind following the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) advisory on Wednesday evening.
"As you are aware the AAI always sends its teams to all the events conducted at Bangkok without fail and this time also, we would much like to be a part of this event,” Gunjan Abrol said.
“All the pre-departure arrangements were made to fly on March 7 but unfortunately we are compelled to take this hard decision against our wish," he added.
The withdrawal of the Indian archers could hinder their preparations ahead of the final team and individual qualifying tournament for Tokyo, which is scheduled to take place in Berlin from June 22 to 28.
Four Indian archers have earned Olympic quotas so far with Tarundeep Rai, Atanu Das and Pravin Jadhav eligible to compete in the men’s event, while Deepika Kumari is India’s sole women representative to have earned a quota thus far.