Coronavirus keeps Indian rowers guessing for Olympic qualifiers
With the number of coronavirus cases in the country touching 1,000 earlier this week, the rowers and the Federation are eagerly awaiting a final decision on the venue of the Asia and Oceania Olympic and Paralympic qualification Regatta.
Eager to catch a few Olympic berths from the upcoming qualifiers, the Indian rowers are gritting it out at the national camp in Pune. The trials are scheduled to take place next month, following which five Indian rowers will make the cut for the Indian squad for the qualifiers that is slated to be held in Chungju, South Korea from 27 April 27 to 30 April.
However, with the number of coronavirus cases in the country touching 1,000 earlier this week, the rowers and the Federation are eagerly awaiting a final decision on the venue of the Asia and Oceania Olympic and Paralympic qualification Regatta.
A total of ten Indians, including 5 rowers and 2 coaches, are scheduled to fly to South Korea, which will offer an Olympic berth for the men’s and women’s singles sculls, lightweight men’s and women’s doubles sculls and para rowing men’s and women’s singles sculls.
263 rowers, including men and women, can participate in the Tokyo 2020 Games that begins from 24 July this year.
The Indian contingent is expected to be led by Olympian Dattu Bhoknal, whose ban of four years was lifted by the Rowing Federation of India recently. Though he is not currently participating in the national camp, he has immense experience and will be eyeing to make the squad for the trials. The nation will be eager to clinch a few Olympic quota spots from the Asian Qualifiers, but are still clueless about where they will need to fly for the event. Though the event has not yet been officially shifted from South Korea, a number of sporting events have been postponed in the country, with other nations placing restrictions on traveling to coronavirus-affected lands.
There is also a huge question mark over the European Olympic Qualifiers that will be held in Versea, Italy, from April 27 to 29. Italy has confirmed the most coronavirus cases outside Asia, and the world body is monitoring the next course of action.
“As we are less than two months away from events scheduled in countries that currently have confirmed cases, namely the Republic of Korea and Italy, FISA (world body) is considering all possible actions and decisions."
“Over the next 48 hours, FISA will continue speaking with as many stakeholders as possible to understand the issues, particularly in the host countries of our events in April and May,” World Rowing said.