The Wrestling Federation of India finds itself in the soup after the Indian High Commission seems adamant on not issuing visas to wrestler and officials of China for the Asian Championships beginning Tuesday. The severe outbreak of the deadly coronavirus has put the neighboring countries in a fix and not granting visas could eventually lead to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) disallowing India from hosting events in near future.
As per a report in the Times of India on Saturday, the WFI has issues several reminders to the Indian health ministry, ministry of external affairs and the Indian High Commission in Beijing regarding visa applications of 30 Chinese wrestler and 10 support staff but there has been no response yet. Despite assurance from the Chinese Wrestling Association that all its delegates had been tested and quarantined, the word going around is that The High Commission stopped processing visas of Chinese citizens and the stand is unlikely to change.
The WFI awaits an official confirmation on Monday, although the body is convinced that the visas will not be granted. In such a scenario, the WFI runs the risk of losing hosting rights of international events going forward and also the possibility of the Indian wrestling contingent for Tokyo Olympics being restricted from participating in next month’s Asian region qualifier.
Last year, the IOC had barred India from hosting future sporting events after Pakistani shooters were denied visas for the Shooting World Cup held in New Delhi and the WFI could face a similar sanction. Besides the IOC, United World Wrestling also has the power to strip India of future hosting rights.
TOI claims to possess a copy of UWW’s mail to WFI, which states: “athletes and all delegation members from Team China will be allowed on the territory for their participation in the event” and that “should isolation be required for athletes and delegates from China ahead of the event, wrestling training facilities will be provided by the organisers for the time of such isolation”.
The report further states that Chinese delegation had applied for visas long back and that the UWW had asked the WFI to provide written guarantees from the health ministry that things will proceed as planned. But the spreading of the disease in China has led to the government to believe that granting visas will endanger the health of people in India.