Japan’s entry ban will not affect Indian athletes: Batra

‘Japan's entry ban will not affect Indian athletes’ participation in the Games’

Indian Olympic Association president Narinder Dhruv Batra has said that travel restrictions imposed by Japan will not affect Indian athletes’ participation in the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Japan has restricted the entry of people from India, Pakistan and Nepal to quell the threat of Covid-19. The move had raised questions about India’s participation in the Games, scheduled to start in Tokyo on July 23.

Batra has dismissed the concerns and added that all protocols will be met and there will be no restriction to the entry of Indian athletes in the country for the Games. The IOA chief has told news agency ANI that there was nothing to worry as far as India’s Olympic contingent is concerned.

“We have to understand that Olympics is different from regular people entering the country from India, Pakistan or Nepal. Olympics has guarantees from the hosts and from the International Olympic Committee that you cannot stop any athlete from any country from coming and participating. All the accredited athletes in the contingent and officials – around 210 people in total – will not come under the restriction. That is the way I understand the protocol,” Batra told ANI.

“Yes, we will also follow all the protocols that have been put in place. Athletes and para athletes have been vaccinated. And about 90-odd officials have also been vaccinated out of which some have also got the second shot. We have met the vaccination protocol, 24 hours before the departure we will also do the RTPCR tests. So, in my view, there is no reason for them to stop us as we are not violating any regulation. Every single athlete and official who has been accredited will be there,” he pointed.

While assuring that IOA will address the issues related to the Indian contingent, he said national sports federations will have to look into the issue of qualifying events being cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Tokyo Games hopes of badminton icon Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth were all but dashed with the cancellation of the Singapore Open earlier this week.

Also read: It’s end of the road to Tokyo for Saina, Srikanth