As the Tokyo Olympics draws closer, calls to vaccinate athletes preparing for the sports carnival has gained momentum. Boxing Federation of India (BFI) president Ajay Singh has written to Health Minister Harsh Vardhan urging him to prioritise vaccination for Tokyo bound athletes. And those gearing up for various qualification tournaments.
Singh opines that vaccination will help in “preparedness of athletes, facilitate their access to the Olympic village and will also safeguard our top performers of the country from the possibility of being infected.”
“Keeping in view of safety and mental preparedness of the Olympic preparation group comprising of athletes and other technical officials associated in the process, I request you to kindly vaccinate the Olympic team of athletes and officials and other Olympic probables who would be competing in qualifiers on an urgent basis,” Singh wrote to minister Vardhan on Wednesday.
Ajay Singh bats for exposure tours
The BFI chief also wrote to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju informing of the intention of many disciplines to organize international exposure tours in India. Singh goes on to advocate the importance of such tours for India’s medal prospects. Nine Indian boxers, including London Olympics bronze medallist Mary Kom, have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. The boxers will be looking to seal four more available slots during the qualification tournament in June.
“India has good medal prospects in this Olympics. Despite the jolt of the pandemic, now we need to concentrate more. For good international exposure, the teams are participating in training camps and tournaments abroad. Some disciplines are proposing international camps in India,” he said.
India’s vaccination drive is set to begin on January 16. A parliamentary standing committee last month recommended that “athletes, coaches and support staff going for the Tokyo Olympics should be put in the priority group for the COVID 19 vaccination.”