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Olympic-bound Race Walker Irfan and Four Others Test Positive for COVID-19 in SAI Bengaluru

KT Irfan tests positive (PTI Image)

KT Irfan tests positive (PTI Image)

Irfan, 31, was the first Indian race-walker to win ticket to Japan when he finished fourth in 2019 Asian Race Walking Championships held in Nomi, Japan.

Olympic-bound race walker K T Irfan is among five elite track-and-field athletes who have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Sports Authority of India’s Centre of Excellence in Bengaluru. The tests were conducted last Friday and those who returned positive have been kept under quarantine.

“At least five elite athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 when tests were conducted on Friday. They have been kept isolated from others," a source at the SAI Centre told.

The official said another race walker could also have tested positive but this could not be confirmed.

“Four male players and one female player and 4 support staff tested positive for Covid-19,” a SAI official stated.

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“The female player had come from home. The players were tested on 6th and their results came positive on 7th. They received their first vaccine dose on 29th April. One male player and one female player were not vaccinated. They have been tested again on the 10th and their results are awaited tomorrow.”

It is learnt that none of the female race walkers are among those who returned positive.

The 31-year-old Irfan had qualified for the Tokyo Olympics way back in early 2019 after finishing fourth in the 20 km event of the Asian Race Walking Championships in Nomi, Japan.

Last month, five Indian athletes training here – Olympic-bound Priyanka Goswami, Asian Games 1500m gold-medallist Jinson Johnson, long distance runner Parul Chaudhary, steeplechaser Chinta Yadav and another race walker Eknath – had tested positive for the dreaded virus.

Russian race walk coach Alexander Artsybashev had also tested positive at that time.

Irfan returned negative at that time after he was tested as a primary contact of Johnson.

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first published:May 13, 2021, 20:07 IST