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Express Impact: SAI seeks report over flouting of social distancing norms during Wrestling Nationals

The Sports Authority of India sought a report from the Wrestling Federation of India after the Indian Express reported that Wrestling Nationals flouted social distancing norms.

By: Sports Desk |
Updated: January 24, 2021 7:03:35 pm
Hundreds of spectators were at the Noida Stadium to watch the men’s freestyle championship

After the Indian Express reported on Sunday that the Wrestling National Championships being held at the Noida Stadium flouted social distancing norms and other procedures of the guidelines provided, the Sports Authority of India took up the matter with the Wrestling Federation of India.

READ | At wrestling nationals, no social distancing, stands full and few people with masks

Seeking a report from the federation over the violation that took place on Saturday, SAI Director General Sandip Pradhan said, “We have taken up the matter with the Wrestling Federation of India and impressed upon them that the SOP for competitions has to be adhered to strictly. We have also sought a report from the Federation on alleged violation, by Monday. The federation has assured compliance of protocol.”

SAI has also requested Indian Olympic Association to sensitize all National Sports Federations to follow the covid protocols strictly to ensure safety of athletes.

Hundreds of spectators were at the Noida Stadium to watch the men’s freestyle championship No mask, no social distancing and packed stands.

On December 26, the sports ministry had released an eight-page Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for organising competitions in the midst of a pandemic, in which it underlined that the events should be conducted ‘strictly in accordance with the guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs’.

Wrestling became the first major Olympic sport to hold its national championship since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However at the indoor arena of the Noida Stadium, hundreds of spectators gathered to watch the men’s freestyle championship, which has attracted 252 wrestlers in 10 weight categories. The grapplers had to produce a Covid-negative certificate to be eligible for the championship.

However, there was no such requirement for coaches and support staff accompanying them, as well as referees and federation officials.

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