Six wushu athletes told they're not part of US plans at airport

They reportedly failed to get clearance from the Sports Authority of India, which has the authority to decide such matters.

Published: 19th November 2023 06:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th November 2023 03:34 PM   |  A+A-

Naorem Roshibina Devi

FILE - India's Naorem Roshibina Devi is part of six-member team who travelled to the US for the World Championships. (PTI)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: As many as six wushu athletes from the country, who were looking to be part of the ongoing World Championships in the US, were rejected at the eleventh hour. Much before this latest issue, there had already been some amount of uncertainty surrounding the wushu contingent after a delay in visa approval.

After finally getting their visas, the 12-member Indian wushu team, which includes Asian Games silver medallist, Naorem Roshibina Devi, went to the Delhi airport for their expected flight to the USA on Friday evening. However, six members were reportedly told they were not part of the plans. They reportedly failed to get clearance from the Sports Authority of India, which has the authority to decide such matters.

It's a massive blow for the athletes as the ongoing event offers some important ranking points. One athlete, who understandably didn't wish to be named, confirmed the development. "It was a normal procedure. Our visas had been approved but we didn't get government sanction. For that reason, we were not allowed to go."Despite the ordeal, the player in question is intent on focussing on the future. Asked if this miss hurts, the player said: "Hota to hai (it obviously hurts). I will train hard and get ready for the next championship. This happens with many. It's not a big deal."

When asked to recall Friday's exact turn of events, the athlete said: "The federation secretary, coaches were there. We were asked to go to the airport. We reached the airport and we were told the government letter had arrived and visas had been approved for just half the contingent."

The federation officials were unreachable despite repeated attempts. Interestingly, the world event is already on and by Saturday evening, China were leading the medals tally with four gold medals. That means Indians will be missing out on important events. The six Indians and the other support staff members, who got the government approval, were expected to reach the US around Saturday evening.

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