CHENNAI: Despite travel bans and uncertainty over restrictions imposed in different countries across Europe, one batch of 11 wrestlers reached Paris enroute Sofia, Bulgaria on Wednesday. There was confusion as to how the wrestlers would reach the Sofia after a few countries including the Netherlands imposed ban on flights from India.
A team of 27 was supposed to reach Sofia to take part in the World Olympic Qualifiers scheduled in Sofia from May 6 to 9. The remaining 16 are expected to leave on April 30. The 11-member team included Greco-Roman wrestlers Gurpreet Singh (77kg), Sunil (87kg), Naveen Kumar (130kg), freestyle grapplers Ravi Dahiya (57kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) apart from coaches and other support staff. Women wrestlers Seema (50kg), Nisha (68kg) and Pooja (76kg) along with Sachin Rana (60kg), Aashu (67kg) and Deepanshu (97kg) from Greco-Roman style will leave on April 30.
Among the wrestlers who left for Bulgaria on Wednesday, a few confided to this daily that it will be good if they can be inoculated soon. The changes in travel advisory meant the Indian wrestlers wishing to travel to Bulgaria via France would now need transit visas. “We have been apprised of the change in travel policy. We will apply for the transit visa and hopefully our remaining wrestlers would be able to travel to Bulgaria via Paris on April 30,” said Vinod Tomar, WFI’s assistant secretary.
Vaccination to be delayed
An IOA circular suggested that athletes and support staff should get their first dose on May 1, the day on which vaccination will be available to all above 18 years of age. “I can’t say anything about it right now,” said a Wrestling Federation of India official.