Wrestlers to miss India event over visa non-issuance

Championship starts on May 10; team hasn’t received travel approval from Indian consulate

Natasha Raheel May 05, 2017
Photo: FILE

KARACHI: Pakistan are most likely to skip the 2017 Senior Asian Wrestling Championship in New Delhi as the two players part of the contingent — Muhammad Inam and Muhammad Bilal — have not been issued their visas.

The Pakistan Wrestling Federation (PWF) had named Inam in the 86kg event and Muhammad Bilal in the 57kg competition in New Delhi; however the federation has still not been issued the visas for the players, while the championship will begin on May 10.

Bilal was to compete in India on May 12th and Inam's bout was on May 14th.

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"It is very disappointing," Inam told The Express Tribune. "This is an important event, it is featuring the best players in Asia, the ranking points are at stake too. Indian government should've given us the visas because at the end of the day sports unite people. I was talking to my Indian friends too and they really wanted us to come.”

The 2010 Commonwealth Games gold-medallist added that not participating also hurts their training routines as they plan their whole year according to that.

"We have our plan and for the last few months we were training for the Asian championship, and then according to the calendar we were to go to Baku. Competing in New Delhi would've given us great exposure as most wrestlers featuring in the event will also be participating in the Islamic Games,” he said.

India to 'slow' down visa process for Pakistani nationals

Meanwhile the PWF Secretary Arshad Sattar said that the India Wrestling Federation has been very cooperative with them and has asked PWF to go to the Indian consulate for the queries, but nothing has come out of it.

"Our Indian counterparts have been very supportive, but when we go to the Indian consulate they tell us that they haven't gotten the clearance for our players from their interior ministry; now we do have the feeling that they will not issue us the visas," said Sattar.

The wrestlers have been training at the camp for the last five months in Lahore and the team will leave for Baku on May 14 now.


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