With Covid-19 Cases Rising in India, Kayaking and Canoeing Teams to Miss Tokyo Olympic Qualifiers

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The massive surge in Covid-19 cases in India has spoiled national kayaking and canoeing teams’ participation in the Asian Olympic qualifying tournament scheduled to be held from May 5 to 7 in Thailand.

“It’s over. All we can say is that it was sheer bad luck. As we were making arrangements to board the flight to Thailand on April 16, things started becoming complicated. We made desperate attempts to fly out of India last week, but fresh travel guidelines issued by the Thailand government to ban the entry of Indians spoiled the show,” said the national team coach Capt (retd) Pijush Baroi from Bhopal.

According to Baroi, the continental competition in Pattaya, Thailand, was the last chance to make cut for the Olympics. The 10-member team, including six in men’s group, was training in Bhopal. Initially, the team was supposed to leave on April 16 as it was mandatory to undergo 10 days of quarantine before participating in the Asian meet.

“We had chalked out plans for indoor training in Pattaya. But all direct flights from India to Thailand were cancelled a day before we were supposed to leave. As we were planning to work on a different route via Dubai, the number of Covid-19 cases spiralled across India. That was the time several countries including Thailand banned entry of the Indians. Still we made efforts but nothing happened,” said the coach.

The camp has been disbanded. “To prepare for the Asian meet we had organised one-month camp in Srinagar’s Dal Lake in March.

“We shifted to Bhopal in the first week of April. All the hard work is gone now, We all are very upset,” said the coach.

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