Self isolation for Neeraj Chopra after returning from Turkey training as precaution against coronavirus

Star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has been ordered by Sports Authority of India (SAI) to remain self-isolated for 14 days at the NIS-Patiala after his return from a training stint in Turkey. Chopra, who has qualified for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, has been told by the SAI to stay at his hostel room without mixing up with other athletes at the NIS if he has to be at the premier sports facility of the country. He returned to India from Turkey on Wednesday. Another Olympics-bound javelin thrower Shivpal Singh has left NIS as he preferred to stay at his home.

“SAI said if Neeraj wants to stay at the NIS, he has to remain in self isolation for 14 days without mixing with others. He and Rohit Yadav who returned from Turkey have been given hostel rooms separated from other trainees. They have also been given an old gym facility near their hostel room,” a source at the NIS Patiala said.

“Shivpal and Vipin Kasana who returned from South Africa wanted to leave for home. They left NIS Patiala yesterday,” he added. The source said SAI insisted that Neeraj and all those who returned from abroad should remain isolated for 14 days even though they were screened for coronavirus symptoms at the Indira Gandhi International airport.

“At the airport, everyone was screened and cleared but when they reached NIS, the SAI said all the returning athletes and coaches should remain in isolation for 14 days. AFI said it was all right since they have been screened and cleared at the airport but SAI insisted.”

The 22-year-old Chopra qualified for the Tokyo Games in a competition in South Africa in January with a throw of 87.86m, having made his return from an elbow surgery last year. He then went to Turkey for a training stint as part of preparations for the Olympics. The Asian Games and Commonwealth Games gold medallist was to take part in the elite Diamond League series beginning in Doha on April 17 but the World Athletics announced its decision to postpone the first three legs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another Indian javelin thrower Shivpal also qualified for the Tokyo Games while training at Potchefstroom in South Africa. The 24-year-old crossed the qualifying standard of 85m by hurling the spear to a distance of 85.47m during the ACNW Meeting at Potchefstroom earlier this month.

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