CHENNAI: Withdrawal of the wushu team from the World University Games in China after three Arunachal Pradesh athletes were issued stapled visas by the Chinese Embassy has made the government cautious. In its bid to avoid the recurrence of such an incident at the Asian Games, also scheduled in China, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has asked national sports federations to furnish details of Arunachal and Ladakh athletes selected for the quadrennial event. Incidentally, three wushu players, who were issued stapled visas, are also part of the Indian team for the Asian Games.
"The SAI has asked all NSFs to provide details of athletes, if any, hailing from Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh, selected for the Asian Games," a source in the know of things told this daily. The source though said the athletes might not face the issue in the Asian Games but affirmed that the move was taken as a precautionary measure. "Usually, the issue doesn't arise at the Olympics and the Asian Games as athletes get accreditation and this saves them from the trouble," added the source.
China has avoided issuing stamped visas to Indian athletes from Arunachal Pradesh for years due to territorial disputes. Given the border issue in Ladakh, the athletes from the Union Territory also face the issue.
Apart from wushu players, karatekas and a skateboarder from Arunachal Pradesh have been picked for their respective teams for the Asian Games. "The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is authorised to apprise the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of the issue. Once the NSFs submit details, the IOA is likely to take up the issue with its international counterpart to avoid last-minute hassles. It has been done in the past and can be done now if the need arises," said the source.