Deepak Punia, Indian freestyle wrestler and World Wrestling Championships silver medallist, who has secured a berth at the Tokyo Olympic Games next year, has tested positive for COVID-19 along with two other grapplers, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has confirmed.
In recent times, a number of Indian athletes and those bound for the 2020 Olympics are contracting the novel Coronavirus, and Deepak Punia, who was currently training at SAI’s national wrestling camp in Sonepat, becomes the latest sportsperson to test positive.
Along with Punia, the two other wrestlers who returned positive test results are Navin and Krishan, who compete in 65 kg and 125 kg categories respectively.
“Three senior men’s wrestlers, who had reported to the National Wrestling Camp at SAI Centre in Sonepat, have tested positive for COVID -19 virus,” Sports Authority of India revealed in a statement on Thursday.
In accordance to SAI’s Standard Operating Procedure, all athletes, coaches and support staffs on reporting to the national camps have to undergo the mandatory RT-PCR test on arrival to their respective training centres.
I am not worried: Deepak Punia expects quick recovery
Speaking to PTI, Deepak Punia said he is asymptomatic, but is unaware of how he contracted the virus.
“I don’t have any symptoms and I don’t feel anything unusual in my body. I am perfectly alright, I don’t know how I tested positive. I am just now waiting for another test after two days. I am not worried,” the 86 kg wrestler said.
The 21 year old, who hails from the village of Chhara, located in the Jhajjar district of Haryana, clinched silver in the freestyle 86 kg event at the 2019 World Wrestling Championships in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. He secured his Olympics quota at the same tournament, beating Colombia’s Carlos Arturo Izquierdo Mendez in the quarter finals.
In 2019, Deepak became the first Indian in 18 years to win a gold at the World Junior Wrestling Championships. He also secured two bronze medals at both 2019 and 2020 Asian championships.
All three grapplers have been moved to an SAI empanelled hospital, where they will be kept for the 14 day quarantine period. Deepak, Navin and Krishan will undergo a second round of testing after two days.
However the national camp, which commenced from 1st September, will go ahead as per schedule, as confirmed by Vinod Tomar, the Assistant Secretary of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI).
“There is no threat to the national camp. It will continue. The wrestlers will begin training only after they complete their quarantine period of 14 days,” Tomar said.