Olympic-bound athlete Priyanka Goswami was isolated on Tuesday at the Sports Authority of India training centre in Bengaluru after she tested positive for Covid-19.
The 24-year-old national record holder from Uttar Pradesh had qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in the women’s 20 km race walk event in February during the National Race Walking Championships held in Ranchi, Jharkhand.
She is the country’s first high profile track and field athlete to have tested positive for Covid-19.
Alexander Artsybashev, a foreign coach associated with the national race walking squad in Bengaluru, also tested positive for the virus.
Confirming the development, a national level coach said that several athletes preparing for the Tokyo Olympics qualification competitions have tested positive for coronavirus.
“Since last weekend, the entire race walking team including Olympic-bound KT Irfan who has qualified in the men’s 20 km race walk have been staying in isolation,” a SAI official told IANS.
“It is a worrying factor as several athletes and members of the coaching staff are getting infections,” said an athlete from Bengaluru.
Besides track and field, the SAI centre in Bengaluru is also home to Olympic-bound national men’s and women’s hockey teams.
Avinash Sable, who had qualified in the men’s 3000 metres steeplechase for the Tokyo Olympics, is also based in Bengaluru.
“His test on Monday was negative but reports of some athletes who were training with Sable are positive. Even the national middle and long distance coach Renu Kohli is staying in isolation as her recent report was positive,” said a coach from Bengaluru.
Due to a surge in Covid-19 cases across the country, SAI plans to conduct weekly tests.