The men’s national camp will take place as per schedule.

The women’s national wrestling camp, scheduled to be held in Lucknow from 1st September, has been postponed indefinitely due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Sports Authority of India (SAI) announced on Saturday.

A total of 15 Olympic-bound women wrestlers in five different categories (50, 53, 57, 62, 68kgs) were listed to take part in the camp at the SAI centre in Lucknow, but a few athletes were concerned about their safety amid the pandemic.

Star athlete Vinesh Phogat had announced that she will not take part in the national wrestling camp and had requested the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) to allow her to train at her home. Rio Olympics bronze medallist Sakshi Malik had also said that she would not come to Lucknow until other women wrestlers also confirm their participation.

However, no official reason has been provided by the federation for the postponement of the wrestling camp. Apart from Vinesh and Sakshi, the likes of Nirmala Devi, Pooja Dhanda and Divya Kakran were among the athletes named for the camp.

On the other hand, The men’s national wrestling camp will take place at the SAI centre in Sonepat. The decision to start the camp has been taken to ensure that those athletes who have already qualified for the Olympics and those who can still qualify for the Olympics, can begin on-field training.

A total of 26 men wrestlers in eight weight categories – five in freestyle (57, 65, 74, 86, 125kgs) and three in Greco-Roman (60, 77, 87kgs), as well as six support staff will hone their skills in Sonepat.

The athletes, coaches and support staff joining SAI Sonepat will be given mandatory COVID-19 test upon arrival at the camp and resume training after a 14-day quarantine. The COVID-19 guidelines of the Government of India, state government and the SAI SOP will be adhered to strictly.

At present four wrestlers, Vinesh Phogat (women’s 53 kg), Bajrang Punia (men’s 65 kg freestyle), Ravi Kumar Dahiya (men’s 57 kg freestyle) and Deepak Punia (men’s 86 kg freestyle) have qualified for the Olympics. There are 18 Olympic categories, and wrestlers still have the opportunity to win more quota places at the Asian qualifiers and World qualifiers next year.

Numerous national camps have been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) indefinitely postponed the training camp a few weeks back after a coach tested positive for coronavirus at the Dr Karni Singh shooting range in New Delhi.