India's Winter Olympic Contingent COVID-Free

BEIJING: A day after testing positive for COVID-19, the manager of India's Winter Olympics contingent, Mohammad Abbas Wani, has returned negative results in two retests conducted in the last 24 hours, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) said on Thursday.

Wani was found COVID-19 positive upon his arrival at the Beijing Airport on Wednesday. IOA president Narinder Batra said the official has now returned negative in the last two tests.

"The manager of Indian team Mr Abbas Wani tested negative in the 2 tests done on him in last 24 hours. Hence, the entire Indian contingent in Beijing is Covid free," Batra said.

"Thank you Mr Harjinder Singh (Chef de Mission), the Indian Embassy in China and Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for taking care of everyone."

Wani is a part of the six-member Indian delegation at the Winter Olympics where Jammu and Kashmir skier Arif Khan is the only athlete from the country to have qualified this time.

Arif will be competing in Slalom and Giant Slalom events during the Games to be held from February 4 to 20.

The contingent also includes alpine coach Ludar Chand Thakur, technician Puran Chand and team official Roop Chand Negi.

An asymptomatic Wani stayed in quarantine in his hotel room before the retests confirmed that he is not infected.

Singh expressed surprise over Wani testing positive after landing as he had taken two vaccine doses besides a booster and obtained a green QR Code to travel to Beijing after clearing the tests before boarding the flight.

Now that the entire contingent has been cleared, the team will take part in Friday's opening ceremony to be held at the Bird's Nest stadium here and focus on the main event, he said.

Singh who is the General Secretary of the Ice Hockey Association of India said Khan's participation in the event is a big boost for skiing in Kashmir as well as in India.

"Skiing is big generator of winter tourism as it is most popular in Europe and India looks to capitalise on the emerging sport," Singh said.

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