The national camp for the Indian women’s wrestling team commenced on October 10th at SAI Lucknow. This will be the first training camp for the women’s wrestlers since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed in March this year. The players have arrived in Lucknow and will complete a seven-day quarantine before starting their individual training. The camp is scheduled from October 10 to December 31 and will comprise 16 wrestlers and 4 support staff. Campers will be staying in the residential facilities at SAI Lucknow.
Elaborate safety precautions have been made at the SAI Lucknow campus in order to maintain a safe bio-bubble for the wrestlers to train as well as to separate athletes, service providers and office visitors in order to prevent an inadvertent transmission of Covid-19. This has been done in the form of a colour code zoning of Green Zone, Yellow Zone and Red Zone. In order to maintain safety protocols, all visitors will be screened for symptoms.
Kuldeep Malik, Chief Coach, Indian Women’s Wrestling Team said, “Wrestling is an important sport in India, it had to be started at some point. Of course due to the precautions because of the coronavirus, for the first week of training we will be maintaining social distancing, after which we will start regular training. By Sunday, all the campers will get their Covid reports and hopefully will come out negative, so we are confident that all arrangements will be in place for regular training to happen.” Malik added that with the World Championships scheduled in December, he expects India to return with their best ever medal haul.
Staying arrangements have been done for the campers in the elite hostel in a secure manner with all facilities provided. Regular monitoring of athletes are being taken for their temperature and oxygen levels.
2018 World Championship bronze medalist and 2019 Arjuna Award recipient Pooja Dhanda said, “The facilities in the room are very good and we have been provided everything. We really feel like we are national campers. We are getting daily updates in the morning about our food and menu, everything is very proper and systemized and the food here is very good. With current facilities, we really feel good and have the motivation to give it our best.”
Safe handling of food has been ensured at the campus so that it can reach the athletes and support staff by avoiding any contact. All the personnel who have access to the green zone have been tested for Covid. And those involved in preparation and handling of food are staying within the campus premises.
India has so far won one Olympic quota in women’s wrestling through VineshPhogat in women’s 53 kg. Two further qualification tournaments, Asian Qualification Tournament and World Qualification Tournament are scheduled next year where India will get an opportunity to win an Olympic quota in the remaining five women’s wrestling events.