New Delhi: Six-time World Champion MC Mary Kom has decided to join the rest of India’s Olympic-bound boxing team in Italy for training. She has taken the decision to avoid the added restrictions on those travelling to Tokyo from here amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Mary Kom had won a bronze medal in the 2012 London Games. Mary Kom will take off for Assisi in a day or two to join the eight other boxers in Italy. After training they will leave for Tokyo from the Italian city itself. She has been currently training at Pune’s Army Sports Institute so far for the Games starting July 23.
“I have changed my plans. I have returned to Delhi and will leave for Italy may be tomorrow or day after. There are stricter quarantine restrictions on those who are travelling from India. I want to avoid them,” the 38-year-old Mary Kom said Tuesday. “After training so hard for so long, no point in taking such a risk. Hard quarantine can break the rhythm,” she added.
Mary Kom would be accompanied by her personal coach Chhote Lal Yadav and a physio.
The Indian athletes and officials have been asked by the Japanese government to undergo daily Covid-19 tests for a week prior to their departure to Tokyo. They will also not interact with anyone from another country for three days upon arrival. The stricter rules have been framed for 10 other countries apart from India. These however, will not apply on those who will be landing in Tokyo from training bases like Italy.
The Indian boxing contingent, which went to Assisi early this month, was earlier expected to return to India July 10. They were then scheduled leave for Tokyo a week before the start of the Games. However, they will follow the same plan, but will fly from Italy.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has asked the Tokyo Games Organising Committee to allow relaxations in the Covid-19 testing protocols. However, the Japanese authorities have refused to reduce the number of required pre-departure tests.
“The protocols are obviously tough given the circumstances. You don’t want additional stuff to deal with while trying to focus on your performance,” Mary Kom said.
An unprecedented nine Indian boxers – five men and four women – have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.