Neeraj Chopra
Neeraj Chopra Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: The second wave of the coronavirus in India has ruined plans to prepare top athletes for the Tokyo Olympic Games, says Adille Sumariwalla, the president of Athletics Federation of India.

Despite great showing at the recent Federation Cup Athletics Championships, most athletes are hampered in their training.

“The FCAC raised hopes of a good season ahead, but AFI’s road map for the Tokyo Olympics got disrupted due to a surge in pandemic in India. Foreign exposure tours for top athletes didn’t go as planned due to travel restrictions put in place by several European nations for Indians and it made things more challenging to send the athletes abroad for training,” Sumariwalla said.

Ten individual athletes, including javelin stars Neeraj Chopra and Shivpal Singh, have achieved quota places for the Tokyo Olympics. The national mixed 4x400m relay team have also booked their place.

Last week, the national relay team was unable to go to Poland to compete in the World Relays and that has really hurt their preparations.

“In these challenging times when summer heat is soaring in Patiala and European countries having 15-day quarantine rules in place for the Indians, it is tough to find a right place to train. With Olympics around the corner undergoing quarantine for 15 days would completely spoil the show,” Sumariwalla said.

Despite setbacks, Sumariwalla is hopeful of a solution. “The AFI is working to find the best place to train in Europe ahead of the Olympics,” he said.

The Olympic Games are scheduled to be held in July-August.