Sports Ministry reaches out to MEA to aid in the vaccination of athletes stationed overseas

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To conduct the vaccination of Indian athletes currently stationed overseas for the pre-Olympic Games qualifying events, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) has reached out to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) for assistance.

While COVID-19 vaccination is not a mandatory procedure for the Olympic-bound athletes, India has decided to complete the vaccination of its sportspersons before they catch the flight to the Japanese capital.

A total of seven athletes from the country are in foreign lands at the moment, for either their participation in qualifiers for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, as well as for overseas training before the grand quadrennial event later this month.

The athletes who are currently stationed overseas are-

  • Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, siationed in Uppasala in Sweden,
  • Boxers Manish Kaushik, Satish Kumar, Pooja Rani and Simranjeet Kaur are currently in Assisi, Italy.
  • Wrestlers Ravi Dahiya and Deepak Punia, are located in Russia.

Neeraj Chopra, the 23-year-old 2018 Asian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist who is a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) in the Indian Army, will have to get his second dose of Covishield along with the support staff in the Indian mission as in Sweden, the vaccine is only available for those aged 65 and above.

Meanwhile, the vaccination policy in Italy will be a hurdle for Manish, Satish, Pooja and Simranjeet to get their second shot, while only Sputnik is available in Russia for Ravi and Deepak, so they are also destined to complete their vaccination in the Indian missions in those two countries.

Although the Indian boxing contingent in Assisi, consisting of the four pugilists along with eleven support staffs, were primarily set to fly back to India on 8th July, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) appealed to the Govt to let the boxers resume their training in Italy and directly go to the Olympics.

Meanwhile, Indian shooters Rahi Sarnobat, Saurabh Chaudhary and Deepak Kumar who are currently in Croatia, are due to get the vaccination done in the capital city of Zagreb. Tennis player Ankita Raina, who is stationed in London, will receive her second dose at the High Commission of India in the English capital, and judoka Shushila Devi will get her vaccine in New Delhi.

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