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Indian judo team withdraws from Olympic qualifiers after COVID-19 cases surface

All the 15 judokas and four coaches had returned negative in the first test conducted after landing in the central Asian country.

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New Delhi: A 15-member Indian judo team has withdrawn from the ongoing Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifiers in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan after two judokas – Ajay Yadav and Ritu tested positive for COVID-19 just before the start of the tournament.

Yadav, a 73kg class judoka, and Ritu (52kg) tested positive in the second test conducted after landing in Kyrgyzstan and both are asymptomatic.

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All the 15 judokas and four coaches had returned negative in the first test conducted after landing in the central Asian country. The entire 19-member contingent is currently in quarantine at a hotel in Bishkek.

The Asia-Oceania Championships in Bishkek started on Tuesday and will end on Saturday.

Under the tournament rules, if any player tests positive, the entire team will have to pull out.

Prominent judokas in the team included Shushila Devi (women’s 48kg), Jasleen Singh Saini (men’s 66kg), Tulika Mann (women’s 78kg) and Avtar Singh (men’s 100kg).

The Sports Authority of India (SAI), in a statement, said that both the judokas who tested positive for COVID-19 ”don’t have major symptoms and have been quarantined in a safe facility”.

”The players are safe in a hotel with their daily requirements being looked after by the money allocated to them as daily allowance for the competition,” it said.

The rest of the contingent is also in quarantine at the same hotel in Bishkek and the team management is seeking assistance from the Indian Embassy there.

”We are talking to Sports Authority of India (SAI) as well as the Indian Embassy here. We are requesting that some members who tested negative be allowed to return home. Obviously, the two players will have to be looked after. We will know in a day or two, ” the team said.

The SAI said the sports ministry is in consultation with the Ministry of External Affairs to bring the players back home safely.

With the Olympic qualification based on world rankings, the Indians were looking at the continental meet as an opportunity to collect rankings points to make the cut for Tokyo 2020 before the June 28 deadline.

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