The Archery Association of India (AAI) on 5 March withdrew its team from the upcoming Asia Cup world ranking tournament in Bangkok owing to the coronavirus threat there. The season-opening stage 1 tournament is scheduled to be held in Thailand's capital from 8 March to 15 March.
This would have been India's first international competition since their return from a five-month suspension. "After reviewing the current alarming situation on account of coronavirus and taking into consideration the travel advisories issued by SAI and IOC, Archery Association of India is worried about the health of our team and cannot take any risk under the circumstances," AAI assistant secretary Gunjan Abrol wrote to World Archery secretary general Tom Dielen.
A copy of the letter is in possession of PTI. "Hence it has been decided to withdraw the team from the Asia Cup Stage 1 World Ranking Archery tournament to be held in Bangkok from 7 March to 15 March."
India were to send a second-string team for the tournament and all the tickets and booking arrangements had been done. The decision to pull out was taken after getting the Sports Authority of India advisory on Wednesday evening. "As you are aware the AAI always sends its teams to all the events conducted at Bangkok without fail and this time also we were much like to be a part of this event. All the pre-departure arrangements were made to fly on 7 March but unfortunately we are compelled to take this hard decision against our wish," it added.
A World Archery official told PTI that the tournament is on, even though there has been one coronavirus death in Thailand, which has reported more than 45 positive cases since January. The number of global nCovid-19 cases have reached more than 88000 across 66 countries, with over 3,000 deaths. Before the five-month suspension was conditionally lifted by World Archery in January, Indian athletes participated under a neutral flag at the continental qualifications in Bangkok. The suspension was lifted after the AAI's elections. India currently has has three men's and one women's Tokyo Olympic quotas.