They came back hoping for some decent competition and testing themselves after extensive training stints abroad. However, government guidelines mean India's javelin throwers have to stay in isolation instead, forced to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine and and not interact with anyone.
While the trio from Turkey – Neeraj Chopra, Rohit Yadav and German biomechanics expert Klaus Bartonietz – are already in Patiala, the batch from Potchefstroom, South Africa - including throwers Vipin Kasana, Arshdeep Singh, Annu Rani and coach Uwe Hohn- arrived there late on Thursday. Shivpal Singh, though, would be joining on Saturday.
“We have no athlete outside now, all are back. The throwers were the last to return and they have been kept in self-isolation at the NIS as per SAI directives. They have not been stopped from training, however, they would not be training with the rest of the campers. They have been provided with a different timing and schedule. An old gym within the NIS campus and close to their living quarters has also been readied for their exclusive use,” an AFI official explained.
Shivpal, employed with the Indian Air Force, emphasised on looking at the bigger picture. “It is difficult to stay in complete isolation. But it would be only for two weeks and since our training won’t be affected, it would be slightly better."
"Also, given the way the virus has spread world over, a two-week isolation is small price to pay for the larger good,” he said.
Interestingly, sources said both Shivpal and Arshdeep were initially supposed to be in isolation in Delhi before deciding to keep all throwers together at Patiala.
The AFI was to hold its first Grand Prix on Friday before government directives on Thursday meant all sporting activities including competitions and selection trials were postponed till after April 15. The decision meant the next two legs of the GP and the federation Cup have also been put on hold for now.
On Friday, the federation also postponed its upcoming AGM and elections with sources revealing that any competition would now be held only after May 15.
Neeraj and Shivpal have already qualified for Tokyo Olympics. “We were properly screened and cleared at the airport when we landed in Delhi. However, SAI and AFI have insisted on a second round of screening and self-isolation despite all that at NIS. But it’s not an issue, better safe than sorry,” Shivpal added.
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