COVID-19: Athletes and hockey players in quarantine in SAI Bengaluru

Athletes residing in the SAI centre in Bengaluru will be quarantined for 14 days after a cook who had attended a meeting there died of cardiac arrest on Monday. His sample tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday.

In this picture taken on January 21, 2020, analytical coach Janneke Schopman interacts with players at SAI, Bengaluru. The Olympic-bound Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams are put up there.   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

Just when they were about to resume training, after receiving the green signal from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Sports Ministry, athletes and hockey players preparing for next year's Tokyo Olympics suffered a fresh blow after a cook employed with the Sports Authority of India's (SAI) South Centre in Bengaluru passed away.

The senior cook, who had not been coming to the SAI centre after the lockdown began but had attended a meeting there on May15, had died of cardiac arrest in a hospital on Monday. And his sample had tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday.

“The athletes did not attend that meeting but two or three from the administrative staff had gone for that. They have been quarantined and we too, from Tuesday,” said Jinson Johnson, Asian Games 1500m champion, from the Bengaluru centre on Wednesday.

“Six race walkers and distance runners Gopi and I are here. We also have the Indian men's and women's hockey teams here. All of us have now been told to go on a 14-day quarantine. We had been doing some fitness training for the last few days but now we will be mostly in our rooms and maintaining social distancing too,” said Jinson.

The SAI confirmed, through a note, that the meeting was attended by 16 members, including the deceased, at the auditorium near the administrative block of the centre. And that social distancing norms, as per government guidelines, were followed. It said that the cook did not interact with any of the players or other staff members housed in the centre.

The SAI release also mentioned that Narinder Batra, Indian Olympic Association president was fully satisfied with the way the Bengaluru centre has been kept safe and sanitised.

“The SAI administration is doing its best to handle the issue at hand and there is no reason to panic,” the note quoted Batra as saying.

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