India withdraw from Asian judo after COVID-19 cases surface, Olympic plans hit

Two judokas tested positive for the novel coronavirus. As a result, the entire Indian team has been placed in quarantine as per protocols.

By Naveen Peter ·

The Indian judo team has withdrawn from the ongoing Asia-Oceania Judo Championships 2021 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

This, after two judokas tested positive for COVID-19 in the latest round of testing conducted at the team hotel. 

While the two are asymptomatic and in isolation, the entire team has been forced into a 14-day quarantine as per protocols in the Kyrgyz capital city.

The Indian judo team was training at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre in Bhopal before leaving for Bishkek on April 3. 

The SAI centre had reported 18 positive cases for the novel coronavirus on April 4 with four more added to the list a day later.

The Indian team, however, underwent two tests in India and once upon arrival in Kyrgyzstan. While each of those reports showed no signs of COVID-19, the fourth examination conducted at the team hotel returned positive for one judoka.

“The players are safe in a hotel with their daily requirements being looked after,” SAI said in a statement. “Meanwhile, the sports ministry is in consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs to bring the players back safe.”

Fifteen Indian judokas were to participate in the Asia-Oceania Judo Championships, including Rio Olympian Avtar Singh.

With the Olympic qualification based on world rankings, the Indians were looking at the continental meet as an opportunity to collect rankings points to make the cut for Tokyo 2020 before the June 28 deadline.

The Judo Federation of India (JFI) is now considering sending the judokas to the Kazan Grand Slam in Russia early in May and to the World Championships in Hungary in June.