What's the story?
The Indian boxers, who are training in Italy for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers, have decided to continue training in the country despite Coronavirus threats.
In case you didn't know
The Asia-Oceania zone Olympic Boxing Qualification tournament will be held in Amman, Jordan from 3rd to 11th March. The tournament which was earlier scheduled to be held in Wuhan, China in February was moved to Jordan due to the Coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.
The qualifiers will be held across 13 weight categories, 8 for men and 5 for women. All the 13 Indian boxers who would be representing India in these qualifiers are training in Italy under the watchful eyes of Indian Boxing's High Performance Director Santiago Nieva.
Heart of the matter
The Indian boxers are currently training in Italy for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualification tournament to held in Jordan from 3rd to 11th March.
Considering the Coronavirus threat in Italy, they were given the option of moving out of the country. But the Indian boxers and staff have decided to continue their training at their base in Assisi, Italy as the place is supposedly far from the epicentre of the virus outbreak.
India's High Performance Director Santiago Nieva clarified that Asisi, their training base, is in the central Italian region of Umbria which is quite far from the northern Lombardy region which is affected by the virus outbreak.
“We are staying put in Assisi, we have a scheduled training tomorrow. We were a bit worried when we heard news of the outbreak but as we understand now, the outbreak is quite far, near Milan, while we are in the central region"
He added that they have spoken to the relevant authorities and there was no need for panic. The boxing contingent will be continuing with their training and would be departing on Friday as was originally planned.
“We have spoken to the Italian authorities and realised that there is no need for concern for us right now. Please do not spread unnecessary panic, there is no early flyout happening. We will depart as scheduled on Friday"
Nieva confirmed that the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) had given them the option of moving out from Italy after he himself had raised concerns due to the outbreak of the virus. But upon realising that the base was far away from the virus afflicted region, they decided to stay put and continue with their training.
Also check out: the full Olympics 2020 Schedule
“Yes, the federation had given us the option of taking an early flight to Jordan but we are okay with staying back and completing our camp as planned because we are far away from the threat"
“There is no need to panic, my message to the federation was meant to sensitise them of the situation and explore options should the situation arise"
He was satisfied with the training and expressed confidence of a good performance from the Indian team at the qualifying event.
“Our training is going quite well. Everything is as per plan and we are confident of a strong showing in the qualifiers"
The Indian boxing contingent, including stalwarts like Mary Kom, Amit Panghal and Vikas Krishan, will be leaving on Friday for Jordan to take part in the Asia-Oceania zone Olympic qualification tournament.
They would be hoping to give a good account of themselves at the tournament and secure an Olympic quota place in all the 13 weight divisions, including men and women.