It is confirmed now that China will not be able to participate in the 2020 New Delhi Asian Wrestling Championships. The Ministry of Home Affairs had declined permission to grant visas to the 40-strong Chinese contingent in wake of the Coronavirus spread in the country.
Meanwhile, Pakistan wrestlers have received their visas from the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and the squad is expected to reach in New Delhi today.
The authorities have denied issuing travel documents to China despite the neighbouring nation’s assurance that all its wrestlers and accompanying delegates have been tested and quarantined, confirmed that they are all free from the Coronavirus.
“The issues involving China is serious because the Coronavirus outbreak has become a global threat,” said Wrestling Federation of India’s assistant secretary Vinod Tomar.
The uncertainty of China’s participation was looming since the Indian government had earlier canceled all e-visas for the Chinese nationals due to the virus outbreak which has killed over 1500 people till date.
However, the denial of visas to the Chinese contingent, India might have risked sanctions from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the United World Wrestling (UWW).
India might face an action from UWW which would possibly forbid it from hosting any future Olympic discipline competitions. Moreover, the international governing body might also prohibit Indian wrestlers from participating in the Asian Olympic Wrestling qualifiers slated for next month.
Meanwhile, Pakistan wrestlers will be the first team to visit India post-Pulwama terror attack in 2019.
“The entire Pakistan contingent were granted visas on Saturday. I met Sports Secretary Radhey Shyam Julaniya on Friday and he instantly took up the matter with Home Secretary after which the visas were issued,” Tomar said.
“Indian Olympic Association President Narinder Batra also played a crucial role in the entire process,” he added.
Pakistan will be sending four wrestlers, one coach and one referee in the Asian meet which will be held from February 18 to 23.
The four Pakistan wrestlers who will be competing are Muhammad Bilal (57kg), Abdul Rehman (74kg), Tayab Raza (97kg) and Zaman Anwar (125kg).