Owing to the health crisis, athletes have been forced to withdraw from several showpiece events.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world. Various sporting tournaments have also been affected due to it. India is one of the world’s worst-affected countries.
Let us take a look at the tournaments that have been postponed or from which Indians withdrew due to COVID-19:
Asia-Oceania Judo Olympic Qualifiers
In April this year, a 16-member Indian judo team were forced to withdraw from the Asia-Oceania Judo Olympic Qualifiers. The tournament was scheduled to take place in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The decision was taken after a player tested positive for COVID-19 just before the start of the competition.
Prominent judokas in the team included Shushila Devi (women’s 48kg) and Jasleen Singh Saini (men’s 66kg). Tulika Mann (women’s 78kg) and Avtar Singh (men’s 100kg) were also a part of the team. All four of them are in the race for one continental quota place. However, their Olympic dreams have been put on hold for now.
Women’s World Team Squash Championship
In December 2020, India withdrew from the Women’s World Team Squash Championship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The Squash Rackets Federation of India (SRFI) stated that the team withdrew due to “uncertainties regarding guidelines for the safe travel coupled with lack of preparation time and match readiness.”
Boxam International Tournament
March 2021 saw the Indian boxing team hit by the virus at the 35th Boxam International Tournament in Castellon, Spain.
Olympics-bound Ashish Kumar (75kg) tested positive for the virus. As a result of being his roommates, Mohammed Hussamuddin and Sumit Sangwan were forced to withdraw from the finals. Among the women, Simranjit Kaur was forced out of the final. Her semi-final opponent Kiria Tapia of Puerto Rico tested positive for the virus. Simranjit Kaur has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.
ISSF World Cup
India pulled out of the first stage of the shotgun World Cup in Nicosia, Cyprus in February last year citing the novel coronavirus threat. The Indian team withdrew from the tournament on the advice of the government.
In the tournament, the Indian shooting team included proven performers such as Manavjit Singh Sandhu, Shreyasi Singh, Lakshay Sheoran, Angad Vir Singh Bajwa and Mairaj Ahmad Khan.
All England Open Badminton Championships
In March last year, top doubles pair of Chirag Shetty and Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Manu Attri and B Sumeeth Reddy, Sameer Verma and Sourabh Verma, along with HS Prannoy withdrew from the prestigious competition citing concerns about the COVID-19 outbreak.
HS Prannoy was involved in yet another withdrawal, after testing positive along with Saina Nehwal at the Thailand Open in January 2021. As a result, Parupalli Kashyap was also forced out, having been part of the travelling Indian squad in Bangkok.
Three Indian shuttlers Lakshya Sen, Subhankar Dey and Ajay Jayaram withdrew from the SaarLorLux Open 2020 as a precautionary measure.
The incident took place in October last year after DK Sen, father-cum-coach of Lakshya, tested positive at a mandatory pre-tournament screening. They were thus, forced to isolate in their hotel room in Saarbrucken, Germany.
Asian Boxing Championship
The Asian Boxing Championship was scheduled to be held in New Delhi this month, but has been moved to Dubai because of the deepening COVID-19 crisis in India.
The Indian men’s team for the event is yet to be announced, but the women’s team has been named and will be spearheaded by the iconic MC Mary Kom (51kg).
The alarming increase in COVID-19 cases in New Delhi has forced the postponement of the India Open badminton tournament. It was scheduled to take place from May 11 to 16. Badminton has been one of the worst-affected sports, with top Indian shuttlers still having to wait to book their place at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
World Athletics Relay Championships
India is set to miss the World Athletics Relay Championships in Chorzow, Poland after travel restrictions were enforced due to the country’s growing number of new COVID-19 cases. The event scheduled to take place in May will serve as one of the Olympic Qualifiers and is a major blow to the country’s Olympic hopes.
WBC India Championship
The World Boxing Council (WBC) India Championship, which was scheduled to take place in Jalandhar on May 1 at the Great Khali Academy, has been postponed indefinitely due to the alarming rise in COVID-19 infections in the country.
The event was part of India Unleashed – Fight Night, the country’s first-ever Professional USA boxing event, sanctioned by the Indian Boxing Council (IBC).