'Restrictions on Olympic-bound departing from India not applicable on those training abroad'

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New Delhi, Jun 25 (PTI) India's Olympic-bound athletes, who are training abroad right now and scheduled to reach Tokyo directly from their current bases, will not face the stricter restrictions that have been put in place for those travelling from the country, Deputy Chef de Mission Prem Verma said on Friday.

While the Indian contingent will be allowed to train during their three-day on-arrival quarantine, they won't be allowed to meet athletes from other countries during the hard quarantine.

'Indian athletes preparing for the Games overseas and reaching Tokyo directly would not face the restrictions applicable to those who have been residing in India for 14 days before departure,' Verma was quoted as saying by the Sports Authority of India in a statement.

This is likely to benefit the shooters, who are currently training in Croatia and Italy, top wrestlers like Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia, tennis star Sania Mirza and javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra among others.

Verma also said Tokyo Olympics Organising Committee has increased the list of accredited laboratories for COVID-19 tests to a number of cities across the country.

Verma told the athletes and support staff that a number of issues raised by the IOA have been addressed by the Tokyo OC to India's satisfaction.

He said there would no restriction on training of Indians, but they cannot meet athletes from other countries for the first three days.

India is clubbed with Afghanistan, Nepal, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, in group 1 countries with serious COVID-19 situation.

The Indian contingent departing from New Delhi will have to upload its health status for each of the seven days prior to departure on the Organising Committee health app along with negative RT-PCR reports from approved labs, 96 and 72 hours prior to the journey.

Apart from this, the Tokyo-bound contingent will also undergo sensitisation workshops on three modules titled 'Life in Tokyo, Playing Clean and From India with Pride.' Life in Tokyo explains the preparations for travel in the fortnight before departure, the formalities to be completed before travel, including vaccination, and anti-bodies test reports.

Athletes and support staff from Hockey, Judo, Rowing, Boxing and Wrestling attended the opening session on Life in Tokyo on Friday.

Athletes like Badminton player PV Sindhu, ace paddler Sharath Kamal, fencer Bhavani Devi and equestrian athlete Fouaad Mirza were among those who attended the first 'Playing Clean module', an anti-doping session conducted by officials of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) on Thursday.

At the formal launch on Friday, SAI DG Sandip Pradhan congratulated the athletes, and the coaching and support staff for staying committed to their preparation for the Olympic Games. He said the members of the contingent were the country's brand ambassadors and were the pride of the nation.

'It is important that we understand the protocols laid down by the organising committee. The Olympic Games is being held under different circumstances imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

'It is the duty and responsibility of each member of the contingent to feel comfortable and safe in the environment,' Pradhan said.

Over 100 athletes from India have qualified for the Games. PTI KHS PM PM

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