With the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 spreading fear all over, Neeraj Chopra’s training trip to South Africa has now been cancelled.
The plan was to send the Olympic javelin champion to South Africa on December 2 and he was supposed to stay there till March next year. But the highly transmissable Omicron variant, first detected in that country, has forced the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) to quickly change its plans.
“Neeraj’s South Africa trip has been cancelled. We are trying to send him to the US,” chief National coach Radhakrishnan Nair told The Hindu from Patiala on Monday. “The AFI will decide as soon as possible.”
With next year loaded with many majors, including the World Championships (July 14-24, Oregon, USA), Commonwealth Games (July 28-Aug. 8, Birmingham, England) and Asian Games (Sept. 10-25, Hangzhou, China), the original plan was to bring Neeraj from his foreign training base to India for National competitions in March and then send him to Europe for training and competitions again.
But, with a few countries suspending flights and others planning stricter checking and quarantine, flying could be a headache all over again.