Mary Kom, a six-time world champion has decided to train in Italy with the rest of India’s Olympic-bound boxing team to avoid the additional restrictions on those traveling to Tokyo from India because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a few days, Mary Kom will go to Assisi to join the eight other Olympic-bound boxers who will depart from there for Tokyo.
So far, the London Olympics bronze medalist has been practicing at Pune’s Army Sports Institute in preparation for the Games, which will begin on July 23. Her personal coach, Chhote Lal Yadav, and a physio would accompany her.
“I have changed my plans. I have returned to Delhi and will leave for Italy maybe tomorrow or the day after. There are stricter quarantine restrictions on those who are traveling from India. I want to avoid them,” the 38-year-old Mary Kom told PTI.
“After working so hard for so long, there’s no point in risking breaking the pattern with a hard quarantine,” she explained.
The Japanese government has requested Indian athletes and officials to take daily COVID-19 tests for a week before flying to Tokyo and to avoid interacting with anyone from another nation for three days after arriving.
The tougher requirements imposed on ten other countries except India will not apply to individuals arriving in Tokyo from training bases in Italy.
The Indian boxing team, which visited Assisi earlier this month, was scheduled to return to India on July 10 before departing for Tokyo a week before the Games began.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has requested that the Tokyo Games Organising Committee allow for COVID-19 testing protocol relaxations, citing the administrative difficulties that this would entail for athletes and officials before their travels.
The Japanese government has declined to lessen the number of pre-departure tests required but has made several exceptions to the medical updates that athletes must complete online.
Nine Indian boxers have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, which include five men and four women.