Rahul Aware reached Sonepat’s SAI centre on Friday evening to join the month-long men’s national camp. The place where he has spent months and years training felt different to him. And it is not his fault. With multiple restrictions in place, he said, it was supposed to happen.
“This had to happen. It is for the first time that we are at the camp and locked in our rooms. Everybody who had joined before me has the same feeling but it was important too considering the current situation,” Aware told WrestlingTV.
The 2019 world championship bronze medallist is amongst the 26 wrestlers who were shortlisted by Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for the camp. Some other wrestlers who are part of the men’s camp are Bajrang Punia and Narsingh Yadav.
Aware said that Yadav is yet to join the camp and is expected to arrive on the weekend. “I did meet a few of my fellow-wrestlers. But we are not making too much contact now. We are all in our room,” he said. “Some more grapplers are yet to join and Narsingh is one of them. I think he will come by today (Saturday)”.
However, while some wrestlers are excited for the training to begin from September 15, there are a few who want to return home.
A senior wrestler, on the condition of anonymity, said that the federation must speak to the SAI and postpone the camp immediately.
“They put us at risk. Why is everybody going so mad about starting the camp so early? What is the hurry? Which tournament are we playing this year? This (national camp) is going to backfire. Better postpone it immediately,” said the wrestler.
Another wrestler said that athletes have started giving excuses to leave the camp. “Wrestlers have started giving personal reasons to leave the camp. Some said their mother is not well and some have given other reasons. Nobody wants to take any chance with life,” he said.
Tokyo Olympics-bound Ravi Dahiya on Friday decided to leave the camp due to his studies. “My exams are coming up and I have taken leave for that. When I am finished with my BA final year exams, I will go back to the SAI centre for the camp,” he said. “The camp is very important for all of us but I have to take the exam, that is why I cannot join right now”.
Covid-19 infiltrates Men’s camp
On Thursday, three wrestlers — Deepak Punia (86kg), Navin (65kg) and Krishan (125kg) — tested positive for covid-19. It had raised questions on the future of the camp, however, WFI and Sports Authority of India (SAI) insisted that the camp will go ahead as scheduled.