Taekwondo athletes stranded at airport return from South Korea: The Tribune India

Tribune News Service

Vinayak Pamadio

New Delhi, April 22

In embarrassing circumstances, more than 20 Indian athletes had to return from the World Taekwondo Championships in Goyang, South Korea, after authorities found their vaccination documents did not meet the country’s Covid guidelines.

In addition to a negative RT-PCR result, those traveling to South Korea must receive two doses of the vaccine, which must be administered at least 14 days but no more than six months before departing for South Korea. If the date of the second dose exceeds 180 days, the visitor will need to show proof of the booster dose.

Most Indian athletes do not have proof of booster doses. As a result, they were stranded at the airport for two days “without food and water”. After Indian taekwondo failed to secure sponsorship and government funding, players traveled to South Korea at their own expense because the institution was not recognised. Some of them borrowed money from friends and relatives, and others had to mortgage gold to travel.

India Taekwondo president Namdev Shirgaonkar could not be reached for comment.

do not eat or drink

“We were stranded at Incheon airport for over two days without any food or water. No one gave us anything. We survived because an Indian lady gave our dad and a coach sponsored us some food,” said one. said one player who asked not to be named.

“None of us knew the 180-day rule, nor did we know we would need a booster after that. The Korean embassy should have informed us when they issued us visas. We only recently started booster doses in our country,” the player said.

The players were asked to go into a seven-day quarantine, but they refused because the game would be over by then. The players were on a return flight on Wednesday.

Another athlete said they were unlikely to get their money back. “We borrowed money because this is a biennial world championship. There is no choice but to leave,” he said.

“Only those players who took their second dose in March (around seven) are allowed to participate. We don’t want to be in public as the tournament continues. Once that is done we will meet with the federation to see what happens, but we It is unlikely to get the money back,” he added.

This is not the first time Indian kickboxers have suffered for not understanding Covid protocols. Last year, the Indian team was unable to compete in the Asian Olympic qualifiers in Jordan because neither Indian taekwondo officials nor athletes were aware of the 14-day quarantine rule.

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