Tokyo hopeful Rahul Aware tests COVID-19 positive

After Deepak Punia, Navin, Krishan Kumar and Vinesh Phogat, Arjuna Award-winning Rahul Aware is the fifth Indian wrestler to test positive for the novel coronavirus.

By Utathya Nag ·

Indian wrestler Rahul Aware, who won a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and a bronze at the World Wrestling Championships last year, has tested positive for COVID-19.

Among the Indian wrestling probables for next year’s Tokyo Olympics, Rahul Aware was given the mandatory COVID RT-PCR test on Friday upon his arrival at Sonepat to join the national camp for the men’s wrestlers. The result returned positive.

Indian wrestler Rahul Aware (left) has tested positive for COVID-19.

The 28-year-old Aware is the fifth Indian wrestler to test positive for the novel coronavirus. Men’s grapplers Deepak Punia, Navin, Krishan Kumar and women’s wrestler Vinesh Phogat had reported positive results in the past couple of weeks.

The Sports Authority of India (SAI), on Sunday, revealed that Aware has been shifted to a SAI-empanelled hospital as precautionary measure and for further monitoring.

“Aware has been in quarantine since his arrival at the camp and didn't come in contact with any other athlete or staff members since his arrival,” the SAI said in a release.

Considered one of the top Indian wrestlers currently, Rahul Aware was recently conferred the prestigious Arjuna Award during India’s National Sports Day on August 29.

Tokyo medal hope Deepak Punia on road to recovery

While Aware’s report was a blow to the Indian wrestlers’ preparation for the upcoming Summer Games, there was some good news from the wrestling camp as well.

Deepak Punia, who was admitted to a hospital after testing positive, has been discharged and will be in home quarantine, as advised by his doctors.

“He’s stable and asymptomatic. His home stay is approved by the District COVID Nodal Officer,” SAI said.

Punia has already booked a quota place for Tokyo in the 86kg freestyle category after winning a silver medal at the World Wrestling Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, last year. 

The talented 21-year-old Punia is one of India’s biggest medal hopes in Tokyo.

Vinesh Phogat – the only women’s wrestler from India to have confirmed a spot at Tokyo – meanwhile tweeted confirming that she has recovered from the infection and both her tests have been negative.