Chinese wrestlers denied visa for Asian Championships in Delhi

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NEW DELHI: A 40-member strong Chinese wrestling contingent will not compete at the Asian Championships beginning here today. The Indian government denied them visas due to the outbreak of coronavirus in China.
It was expected that the Indian government would not take the risk of allowing such a huge Chinese contingent to come here for the February 18-23 event. However, the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) had kept its fingers crossed after getting a written assurance from the Chinese Wrestling Association (CWA) that all 30 wrestlers and 10 support staff members had been quarantined and weren’t infected by the virus.
WFI waited till Monday for the Indian High Commission in Beijing to process visas, but got no response. With the Indian government imposing strict travel restrictions on Chinese nationals arriving in the country, the health and foreign ministries found no reason to reply to WFI’s several reminders seeking an update on China’s participation.
It’s been learnt that the CWA has complained to the United World Wrestling (UWW), the sport’s global governing body, about India’s refusal to grant visas to its wrestlers on health grounds. CWA contended that they had applied well in advance for visas and that all its wrestlers were looking forward to train and compete at the six-day meet. It would be interesting to see whether the UWW initiates any action against WFI or chooses to ignore CWA’s complaint considering it’s an epidemic which has affected people globally.
Meanwhile, WFI informed the Pakistani federation that its wrestlers’ hotel bookings have been made from Tuesday, but it said its grapplers would arrive on Friday to compete in the men’s freestyle competition beginning Saturday. A miffed WFI official said: “If they don’t come by Tuesday, we will recover the amount from the UWW. If not, then the Pakistan contingent will first have to make the payment before competing.”

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