The Indian Wrestling Federation (WFI) was forced to postpone the resumption of the women’s national camp in Lucknow after the country’s top wrestlers refused the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon their return from a week-long hiatus in Diwali, said Saturday an official of the federation.
The fortnightly quarantine is part of the Indian Sports Authority’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) due to Covid-19, but most wrestlers refused to return to camp, which was scheduled to resume Thursday after the break in festival. The camp, initially postponed from September, began on October 10.
Only four – two wrestlers, head coach Kuldeep Malik and a physiotherapist reported Thursday. At least 16 wrestlers, support staff and personal trainers were in the camp.
“Except for a few, almost all of the wrestlers said no to camp because they called the 14-day quarantine a waste of time. They decided to train on their own at home, ”said WFI Deputy Secretary Vinod Tomar. “We had no choice but to postpone the camp.”
He said the wrestlers would, however, continue preparations for the World Cup scheduled for Serbia from December 12-18. “We also have plans for the national championships in December. It is only after that that the camp will resume in Lucknow, ”he said. “There is no change to the men’s camp, which is underway in Sonepat.”
The women’s camp was originally scheduled for September, but prominent wrestlers refused to join, citing an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases, forcing WFI to postpone. WFI had recently announced a “no break” policy for national campers.
Wrestlers were disappointed after United World Wrestling (UWW) canceled this year’s world championships earlier this month after many countries refused to participate due to the pandemic.
An insider of the WFI, who did not wish to be identified, criticized the federation for having authorized the breaking of Diwali. “WFI should not have allowed the wrestlers a week off at Diwali and should have let the camp continue. I’m sure some wrestlers would certainly suffer from it.
Asian Championship gold medalist Divya Kakran hailed the move. “I am relieved that the camp has been postponed. I didn’t have a good training partner there. Now I will have better training in my center in New Delhi with good training partners.
“I was supposed to join the camp, but I couldn’t after Diwali because of my grandmother’s illness. I only learned about the postponement last night. My focus is on training for the World Cup and the Asian Olympic qualifiers in March in Xi’an, China, ”said Divya, who won bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
A few other campers were frustrated. “Not finding a good training partner can be a problem for some, but I’m pretty disappointed,” said one wrestler who declined to be identified. “Being in quarantine for 14 days is for our health. I was ready to train in Lucknow, it is not possible to have good training facilities at home.