Visa delays have jeopardized the participation of about 24 para-athletes in multiple sporting events in June. They are yet to receive the required visa assistance that can pave way for their departure. Thankfully, with the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) is coming to their rescue, the stranded para-athletes are likely to make it to their respective tournaments well in time.
Out of the 24 para-athletes, eight are power-lifters, six paddlers, and ten shooters. The power-lifters are headed to Dubai, while paddlers and shooters are supposed to visit Peru and Slovenia respectively to compete in their respective para events. The visa issues surfaced owing to the worldwide restrictions on international travel imposed in wake of the pandemic.
Lately, the concerned authority, the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI), is looking into the matter. If PCI Secretary General Gursharan Singh is to be believed, Peru has confirmed visa support on Thursday. The same is expected from Dubai and Slovenia soon, paving way for the stranded para-athletes’ timely departure. Any delays here could mean athletes missing participation.
The PCI Secretary General speaking to ANI stated, “As of now, we have received one email from LOC (Local Organizing Committee) Peru over visa they have given permission will be applying to the embassy of Peru also will have to work out on transit visa. In shooting 18 quota places are available for Olympics qualification and we believe that we can grab most of them and thus, we want our players to participate.”
The PCI Secretary General was hopeful about receiving a positive response from Dubai in the nick of time. Reportedly, the Local Organizing Committee of the event has communicated with the UAE authorities to ensure athletes’ transit under the special category. The response is expected in a day or two.
The IOA has been in touch with the ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) to resolve the visa issues and facilitate the 6-member TT teams’ participation in the Para table tennis qualification event scheduled from 3 to 5 June 2021 at Laško, Slovenia. The outcome is eagerly awaited.
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