SAI forms inquiry committee to investigate boxers’ alleged quarantine violation at NIS Patiala 

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Saturday formed an inquiry committee to investigate three boxers’ alleged violation of COVID-19 quarantine norms at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala.

The four-member probe panel is headed by SAI secretary Rohit Bharadwaj and also includes Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) CEO Commander Rajesh Rajagopalan, former hockey coach A K Bansal and SAI Deputy Director (Personnel) Dandapani.

SAI was forced to form the committee after three boxers — Commonwealth and Asian Games gold-winner Vikas Krishan, Neeraj Goyat and Asian Games bronze-winner Satish Kumar — allegedly violated quarantine rules by mingling with fellow athletes during their isolation period.

Vikas (69kg) and Satish (+91kg) have qualified the Tokyo Olympics.

The inquiry committee will look into circumstances that led to the incident and submit its report at the earliest.

It has been learnt that NIS Executive Director Raj Singh Bishnoi is also under the scanner for his role in the incident.

“The committee will conduct a thorough investigation as to what led to such a violation and lay down strict guidelines to ensure such an incident is not repeated in a SAI campus again. The role of NIS Executive Director will also be probed,” a SAI source told PTI.

In a separate statement, SAI said suitable action will be taken against anyone found guilty in this episode.

“A committee constituted under the chairmanship of Secretary, SAI will probe the matter and suitable action will be taken if any personnel(s)/athlete(s) are found culpable of any wrongdoing,” it read.

It has also been learnt that all the three boxers, who have flouted the quarantine rules, have left the NIS Patiala campus on Saturday morning.

The boxing camp is due to begin in the next couple of weeks for just the Olympic-bound.

Seven other boxers, who have qualified for the Tokyo Games, are currently in quarantine and have undergone COVID-19 tests, the reports for which are still awaited.

The SAI has acknowledged that the alleged violators were allowed into the campus after their test reports came out negative.

The SAI has restarted various camps with strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to ensure minimum risk of infection.

The boxers, when they restart training, will not be allowed to access the ring, spar or use each other’s equipment as part of the safety protocol. The BFI got permission to restart the camp after waiting for more than a month.