Pandemic delays track workout of elite sprinters at national camp in Thiruvananthapuram

17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019
17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019

The surge in pandemic cases in Kerala is a cause for concern for the national 4x400m relay team camp in Thiruvananthapuram as it has disrupted the routine track training program of the elite athletes.

The track workout was to resume a fortnight ago but was delayed as the athletes aren’t allowed to leave the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Campus in Thiruvananthapuram.

“Even some of the athletes were quarantined last week because of mild Covid-19 symptoms,” said an official associated with the national camp in Kerala.

In November last year, the national relay and 400m camps were shifted to Kerala due to harsh winter conditions in Patiala.

However, surge in cases in Kerala is a major deterrent as the athletes aren’t allowed to leave the SAI Campus to avoid contracting coronavirus.

Since the eight-lane synthetic track at the SAI campus is still under renovation, the elite Indian athletes use track facilities in nearby areas. But that has been stopped due to the increase in the number of pandemic cases in Kerala.

The coaches at the camp are hopeful that with the number of Covid-19 cases in the state expected to decline soon, the team will be allowed to go and practice at another venue.

“We have our own transport system to go to outside SAI Campus for training. All the athletes are staying in a bio-bubble so it is quite safe,” a team official said.

While athletes aren’t allowed to leave the SAI Campus, Thursday’s weekly Covid-19 negative reports of the campers came as a big respite for the team management.

“Due to spike in cases in the state, weekly tests for Covid-19 have been resumed. Tests of all the athletes in the camp on Thursday was negative,” one of the senior athletes in the camp said.`

AFI yet to announce domestic calendar

Meanwhile, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) is yet to officially announce a domestic calendar. The first major domestic track and field event is expected to be held in the first week of April.

The senior Federation Cup athletics meet is scheduled to be held from April 2 to 6. The venue is still under consideration due to the pandemic. Initially, Patiala was to hold the season’s first major domestic meet, but it could be shifted to a southern Indian city.

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Edited by Sanjay Rajan
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