The players, Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega and Mepung Lamgu, were scheduled to fly out as part of an 11-member wushu contingent – seven male and four female athletes – on a Cathay Pacific flight Wednesday night from IGI airport in New Delhi. They were to take part in individual events of the martial arts sport. The trio are now accommodated at Sports Authority of India’s JLN hostel till the issue of their participation is resolved.
Visa issue: Wushu players meet Rijiju
The wushu competitions will run from September 24 to 28 at the Guali Cultural & Sports Centre in Xiaoshan district.
In July, a 12-member wushu team’s trip to Chengdu for the World University Games was called off after the Chinese embassy in Delhi issued ‘stapled visas’ to the same trio of Arunachal athletes, prompting an angry reaction from India’s external affairs ministry which termed the move “unacceptable”.
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In the latest incident, the three athletes, according to sources in the Wushu Association of India (WAI), were not being cleared to proceed beyond Hong Kong to China after their accreditation cards could not be downloaded for validation. They were booked on a Delhi-Hong Kong-Hangzhou route.
“Their clearances have not arrived to enter China. We, at the federation, were unable to download their accreditation cards for the Games while the remaining members of the team could download theirs without any issues. The accreditation card acts as your visa. So, we decided to leave without them, hoping they could join the team before the competitions begin,” one of the sources said.
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“Our chef-de-mission, Bhupendra Singh Bajwa, has already taken up the matter with the Asian Games organising committee while the Indian government has also been apprised of the matter. Bajwa has reached the Athletes’ Village in Hangzhou and will be discussing the matter with the organisers — the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). In fact, Bajwa and Indian Olympic Association’s joint secretary and acting CEO Kalyan Chaubey had met the Chinese ambassador in Delhi some time ago to discuss the difficulty faced by some athletes in securing accreditation,” the source added.
It’s been learnt that the three players met former union sports minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday afternoon and requested his intervention to secure their passage for participation at the Games. Rijiju is a three-time MP in Lok Sabha from Arunachal Pradesh and currently holds the portfolio of minister of earth sciences. After the meeting, Rijiju held discussions with the senior ranking officials in the govt of India and sought early resolution of the issue. According to sources, the sports ministry later held a meeting in the evening and decided to take up the matter diplomatically.
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