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Tokyo 2020: OOPS! India taekwondo team misses qualification over COVID-19 quarantine mishap

India’s four-member taekwondo squad missed an Asian Olympic qualifying tournament in Jordan due to lack of awareness of a 14-day quarantine rule. The two-day tournament concluded on Saturday in Amman.

“The taekwondo team couldn’t participate in Olympic qualification tournament in Jordan because the organising committee refused visa to the Indian team due to surge in COVID-19 cases in India,” a taekwondo coach said.

The four-member India team was selected on May 7 in Lucknow but was not apprised of the mandatory two-week quarantine rule by the body that runs the sport in the country.

Kashish Malik (57kg) and Margerettge Regi (67kg) were selected in the women’s group, while Akshay Hooda (68kg) and Navjeet Singh Mann (80kg) were picked in the men’s section for the Asian qualifying competition.

“We were told on May 17, a day before we were supposed to fly to Jordan that there is a quarantine rule of 14 days for the Indian team. Since the competition was scheduled for Friday and Saturday, we had no chance to compete,” said a player selected in the India team.

In the absence of Taekwondo Federation of India (TFI), which has been derecognized by sports ministry since 2014 for not following the National Sports Code, Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Indian Olympic Association-appointed body — Team Taekwondo — had conducted trials in Lucknow.

Namdev Shirgaonkar, president of Team Taekwondo, was reluctant to divulge the reason behind the error.

“We tried our best to get the 14-day quarantine rule waived off but the Jordanian authorities did not agree,” said Shirgaonkar.

The competition in Jordan was organised in eight weight categories, including four in women’s section. Top two athletes in each weight category are eligible to compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games starting July 23.