Olympic-bound sailors from TN await vaccination

Sailors Varun Thakkar and K. C. Ganapathy, who tried availing the COVID-19 vaccine on May 1, were sent back by the authorities.

Sailors Varun Thakkar and K. C. Ganapathy (in picture), who tried availing the COVID-19 vaccine on May 1, were sent back by the authorities.   -  FILE PHOTO/ B. Jothi Ramalingam

Four sailors have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics for the first time-ever. And out of them, two 26-year-olds from Tamil Nadu -- Varun Thakkar and K. C. Ganapathy -- are yet to be vaccinated.

The central administration is yet to authorise the state in vaccinating the qualified sailors.

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In a letter addressed to Dr. M. K. Agarwal, Additional Commissioner (UIP) Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ashok Thakkar, President of Tamil Nadu Sailing Association, said that the Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Government of Tamil Nadu, had asked the former to grant permission to vaccinate the two Olympic-bound athletes, but there had been no response from the Central Government.

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While Varun and Ganapathy went for vaccination here on May 1, they were sent back with the message that the plans to vaccinate those below 45 years of age have been put on hold.

Ashok further asked: "Is there any policy by the Government to vaccinate the Olympic-bound sportspersons? Some states are vaccinating their Olympians and some are waiting for Government of India instructions. As a state-recognised federation, I would like that either a clarification is issued or a permission is given to all states to vaccinate the qualified sportspersons, who are all under 45 years of age."