Covid-hit Thais given 'special exemption'

Covid-hit Thais given 'special exemption'

Thailand players celebrate during a match last year.
Thailand players celebrate during a match last year.

Despite a high number of coronavirus cases in the training camp, the Thailand Volleyball Association is still hopeful of sending a team to compete in the Nations League in Italy.

The TVA has withdrawn its women's squad from the tournament after 22 players and officials tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week.

TVA president Somporn Chaybangyang said on Thursday the FIVB, the sport's governing body, allowed his organisation to make changes to its roster to compete in the preliminary stage of the Nations League in Rimini, Italy, from May 25-June 20.

In a statement, the FIVB said: "The FIVB is aware that the Thailand women's national volleyball team has had some Covid-19 cases ahead of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) 2021. The FIVB, Thailand Volleyball Association and Thailand authorities are investigating the matter further.

"In the meantime, the FIVB has provided Thailand with a special exemption on the publication of its roster to allow the Thailand Volleyball Association time to establish the best and safest way of ensuring that Thailand can compete in this prestigious global event."

TVA secretary-general Jaksuwan Tocharoen has been assigned to hold an online meeting with the FIVB on the matter, Somporn said.

The TVA chief said results of further tests were expected in the next few days.

"We will try to send a team to compete in this event. We hope our athletes are healthy and ready for this competition. If necessary, we may call up some more players," he said.

It was reported that veteran stars such as Pleumjit Thinkaow, Nootsara Tomkom, Onuma Sittirak, Malika Kanthong and Wilavan Apinyapong, who were not in the coronavirus-hit squad, may be recalled to the national side.

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