The Army Sports Institute in Pune abruptly shut the archery national camp on Saturday to avoid any outside contact for the army personnel and trainees following the coronavirus outbreak, The New Indian Express reported on Sunday.
A total of 16 players were training at the national camp with 13 of them staying outside the ASI campus as they were not army employees. The plan was to conduct assessment trials on March 24-25 as part of the selection process for Tokyo Olympics before calling off the camp. But on Saturday, the guard stopped the players at the gate when they arrived for morning practice.
“We were stopped at the gate and told that our camp has been adjourned. We tried to reason with him saying we have have not received any such notice. Then the coaches also informed us the same,” a camper was quoted as saying by the paper.
An AAI official also confirmed the news to the newspaper, saying the rising number of cases in Maharashtra had forced the army’s hand. “The army’s security was at risk so they have taken this decision. We have to abide by it. The ministry also informed us the same. Hopefully, the situation will get better soon and the camp can resume.”
The federation also considered the option of shifting the camp to Balewadi stadium but felt that the situation in the state was likely to worsen and asked the archers to pack their bags and return to their respective homes.
Maharashtra has the maximum number of positive coronavirus cases in the country with Pune alone accounting for 23 of the 64 cases.
However, with the Prime Minister announcing a ‘janata curfew’ on Sunday and the state being in a virtual lockdown, it is likely that the players may find it slightly difficult to leave immediately.