CHENNAI: The Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Saturday gave in-principle approval to Judo Federation of India's (JFI's) proposal to allow country's judokas to participate in the Budapest Grand Slam scheduled from October 23 to 25.
However, only five judokas, who possess Schengen visa, will be able to participate as visa formalities for remaining nine are unlikely to complete in time because the Hungarian Embassy in the country is shut down at the moment due to the pandemic.
The five, who are expected to travel to the Hungarian capital to compete in their first international event since March, are Vijay Yadav (60kg), Jasleen Singh Saini (66kg), Avtar Singh (100kg), L Sushila Devi (48kg) and Tulika Maan (+100kg).
"We had a fruitful meeting with SAI today (Saturday). SAI DG Sandip Pradhan, in fact, wanted to send all 14 (seven male and as many female judokas) as named by us for the event but it doesn't look possible at the moment," Man Mohan Jaiswal, JFI's secretary, told The New Indian Express.
The event is a part of World Judo Tour and will offer ranking points which in turn can help judokas to qualify for the Tokyo Games. Jasleen, who has a good chance of qualifying for the quadrennial event, exuded confidence when asked about his preparations for the tournament.
"I am quite confident of finishing on the podium. I have worked on my fitness a lot. Though I am not sparring given the COVID-19 protocols but situation is same for judokas across the globe," he said.
The Indian players are expected to leave on October 19. They have to produce two Covid negative certificates - one five days and another 48 hours before boarding the flight. They will also be tested on their arrival in Budapest.
All the participants will stay in a bio-bubble during the competition. Indian participants will fly back on October 27. "We have sent the entries and received confirmation from the organisers. We have also completed formalities regarding judokas' stay in Budapest," informed Jaiswal.
Coach Jiwan Kumar Sharma was supposed to accompany the team but given the situation, chances of him getting visa look remote. "My travel with the team will be confirmed only by next week," the coach said.