The sports ministry, in a high-powered meeting with Badminton Association of India and some of India’s top shuttlers to take stock of preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, has discussed the start of vaccination drive for the Tokyo Olympics-bound athletes from next month.
The meeting, chaired by sports secretary Ravi Mittal had PV Sindhu, Kidambi Srikanth, B Sai Praneeth, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty in attendance. TOPS CEO Rajesh Rajagopalan and BAI secretary Ajay Singhania also attended.
Badminton’s Olympics qualification period, suspended in March last year because of Covid-19, will resume with the Swiss Open from March 2-7, followed by German Open (March 9-14) and will extend up to the India Open in May.
The players were told the ministry will try and begin the vaccination drive next month. Sports minister Kiren Rijiju has already said Olympics-bound athletes, coaches and support staff will be vaccinated on priority from the ministry. India’s vaccination phase was launched on January 16 with priority given to health care and frontline workers.
In the meeting, the players enquired about the interval between the two shots as they will be abroad on tour next month. There has to be a gap of 28 days between the two doses of Covid-19 vaccine.
BAI secretary Singhania said no dates have been finalised. “The ministry only said they will try and start vaccinating Olympics-bound athletes from next month,” he said.
The Indian contingent had a tough time during the Asian leg in Thailand, playing three back-to-back tournaments, because of strict Covid protocols. The entire team was labelled high risk and the coaches and physios were not allowed in the arena on the first day after Saina Nehwal and HS Prannoy tested positive. They were later cleared after confirmation of antibodies as both had just recovered from Covid.