Olympic-bound race-walkers test positive for Covid


Seven elite athletes, including Olympic-bound race-walkers Sandeep Kumar and KT Irfan, have tested positive for Covid-19.

“Reports of weekly Covid-19 tests conducted last weekend by SAI have revealed that seven athletes tested positive for coronavirus. Since it is mandatory for Covid-19 patients to undergo 15 days of quarantine and stay inside their rooms, the athletes can’t train outdoors,” a coach told IANS from Bengaluru where the affected athletes are attending a camp.

Kumar, 35, qualified for Tokyo Olympics in February at the National Race Walk Championships in Ranchi, Jharkhand. His gold medal-winning time of 1 hour 20.16 seconds was better than the Olympic qualification time of 1 hour 21 seconds.

Irfan, 31, was the first Indian race-walker to win ticket to Japan when he finished fourth in 2019 Asian Race Walking Championships held in Nomi, Japan.

His time was 1 hour 57 seconds.

Last month, Priyanka Goswami, who has also qualified for Olympics in women’s 20 km race walk, was out of action for 15 days as she tested positive for Covid-19.

“Priyanka has recovered and she is back to normal training,” said the coach.

Five Indian race-walkers, including two in the women’s category, have qualified in the 20 km event for the Tokyo Olympic Games starting July 23.