By Navneet Singh
Panaji (Goa), March 19 (IANS) With just four months to go for the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has complained about a lack of coordination between the sports and health ministries over Covid-19 vaccination.
IOA secretary-general Rajiv Mehta said it is yet to get any update on the Covid-19 vaccination for the Olympics-bound athletes.
On Thursday, India’s 27-year-old Olympics hopeful in men’s 65kg freestyle wrestling Bajrang Punia revealed he got a shot of Covid-19 vaccine. Mehta says it’s a good thing Punia managed to have vaccination. But he demanded clarity on the process as there are others who are yet to get the vaccine.
“Players’ safety is important. The government is investing a huge amount of money to prepare elite athletes for the Olympics but IOA has no information regarding vaccination for the players and coaching staff,” Mehta told IANS.
Mehta says he had written a letter to the Union health ministry two months back asking for priority to the core group of athletes attending national camps spread across the country. “I’m yet to hear from the health department regarding vaccination for the players,” he added.
Earlier, in the first week of March, Union sports minister Kiren Rijiju had said his department is coordinating with the health ministry. “Top athletes preparing for the Olympics are our first priority, but the health ministry has to take a final decision,” the minister had said on March 7.
Besides Punia, three wrestlers namely Ravi Dahiya (57kg), Deepak Punia (86kg) and Vinesh Phogat (women 53kg) have got Tokyo Olympics quota, but the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has no clue about the vaccination for the three wrestlers.
“We haven’t got any information from either IOA or the sports ministry regarding vaccination dates for the Olympics-bound wrestlers,” said WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar.