The Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Tuesday announced that all national camps except for those where Indian athletes are preparing for Tokyo 2020 were to be suspended until further notice in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The coronavirus outbreak in the country crossed 100 cases in the last few days, leading to SAI ordering strict compliance to its athletes with the advisories of the Ministry of Health.
"In view of the advisory on Social Distancing issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, SAI has adopted a proactive prevention strategy to protect trainees of SAI from exposure of novel coronavirus (COVID-19)," the Sports Authority of India said in a press release.
Besides the postponement of national camps, the sports authority has instructed all relevant bodies to not conduct any tournaments, seminars or workshops without the clearance of the central and state authorities.
Indian boxing in an advantageous position
Indian boxing’s High Performance Director Santiago Nieva feels that such restrictions won’t have much of an effect on the country's Tokyo-bound pugilists, who can train at home.
"What's the point in panicking?" Santiago Nieva asked. "Whatever happens, it is going to be the same for all the countries. So, even if the travel bans are not lifted, we have the infrastructure in India to ensure that our training is not affected.”
Santiago Nieva believes that having nine pugilists already through to Tokyo from a possible 13 is a huge advantage for Indian boxing.
"The world qualifiers (in Paris) are in any case suspended as of now and we have secured Olympic spots in nine out of 13 categories. That is a huge advantage given the situation. As such, we are not under any pressure,” Santiago Nieva insisted.
The International Olympic Committee’s communique
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) also provided an update on the Tokyo Olympics through a communique on Tuesday.
It announced that while the COVID-19 outbreak is an unprecedented situation for the world and the situation keeps changing daily, the IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
“With more than four months to go before the Games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; and any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive,” the IOC stated.
“The IOC encourages all athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as best they can. We will keep supporting the athletes by consulting with them and their respective NOCs,” it added.
With several Olympic Movement stakeholders and athletes facing significant challenges around securing final qualification spots for the Games, the IOC also announced that it will work with the International Federations to make necessary and practical adaptations to their respective qualification systems for Tokyo.
With 57 per cent of the athletes already in the hat for Tokyo 2020, the remaining 43 per cent of the places for the Olympics will be decided in line with the following principles:
1. All quota places that have already been allocated to date remain allocated to the NOCs and athletes that obtained them.
2. The possibility remains to use existing and scheduled qualification events, wherever these still have fair access for all athletes and teams.
3. All necessary adaptations to qualification systems and all allocation of remaining places will be:
a) based on on-field results (e.g. IF ranking or historical results); and
b) reflect where possible the existing principles of the respective qualification systems (e.g. use of rankings or continental/regional specific event results).
Any increase in quotas for athletes will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis under exceptional circumstances with the support of the Organising Committee Tokyo 2020.