Some Tokyo-bound athletes may have apprehensions about getting vaccinated: Sports minister Kiren Rijiju | More sports News

2021-03-24 11:44:11

NEW DELHI: Confirming that all Tokyo-bound Indian athletes will be vaccinated for the coronavirus before leaving for the Summer Games, union sports minister Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday revealed that some of the country’s athletes may have their “own apprehensions” about getting the Covid jabs. Wrestler Bajrang Punia was among the first Tokyo-bound Indian athletes to take the first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine in Sonipat, with the ministry officials having no knowledge about the development. Presently, people above 60 years and in the age group of 45-59 with comorbidities are eligible for the Covid vaccination.
Rijiju acknowledged that some of the athletes, who will form part of the country’s official Olympic contingent, are having certain apprehensions. “I have already spoken to the officials in the ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW). They have said that they are going to take appropriate decisions. But some of our athletes may have their own apprehensions despite having the proper bubble system, safety measures and protocols in place. Still, some of our athletes, especially the Olympic-bound, have certain apprehensions. Some of them have gone ahead (with the vaccination) and I cannot stop them. It’s a concern of an individual if they have taken certain precautionary measures,” he said. Rijiju was in attendance at the KSSR and even distributed the medals to the winners in the women’s 25m sports pistol event, which was swept by the terrific trio of Chinki Yadav, Rahi Sarnobat and Manu Bhaker. Aishwary Pratap Singh Tomar won the men’s 50m rifle 3 positions event.
On being asked when the athletes will be vaccinated, Rijiju said he can’t comment on the timing. “I am not the minister in-charge for the Covid thing, so I can’t comment on that. I have told the health ministry and they have their own protocols. They have a scientific community, which understands and calculates from the medical angle. I look at it from the sports angle. Before Tokyo, definitely (the athletes will be vaccinated). We can’t send them to Tokyo without vaccination. Regarding the question of timing, the health minister has assured me that they will soon take a decision in this regard.”
Rijiju expressed happiness over the medal-winning performances of Indian shooters at the ongoing World Cup. “First of all, this is the biggest event after the Covid-19 which has been organised in India. Last year, it would have happened. But just a week before the event, we have to call it off because it could have created a problem. But coming back again this year and hosting such a fantastic event, it gives a good feeling and provides a lot of confidence for the country and its sportspersons. The feel good factor is the India shooters performing so well,” he said.
“During the last one year, we have ensured that the athletes are provided with all the support systems. For shooters, we ensured that there was no shortage of ammunition. We had made sure that the ammunition reached them to their doorsteps. So, this kind of back-up ensured during the lockdown period has made a tremendous impact on the performance of our athletes. India will be going to the Tokyo Olympics with full confidence. Earlier India’s participation was more of a token participation. This time, India will fight for its position and the medals,” he added.

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