Under-23 World Championship: 21 Indian wrestlers denied visas
The embassy of Spain has declined visas of 21 Indian wrestlers, who were supposed to participate at the Under-23 World Championship in Pontevedra. As per the Wrestling Federation of India, the rejection came on the suspicion that the athletes will not leave Spain before the expiry of their visas. While 30 Indian wrestlers were picked for the tournament, only nine were granted visas.
Why does the story matter?
- The Under-23 wrestling tournament commenced on October 17 in Spain.
- Antim Panghal, India's first-ever under-20 woman world champion, was among those who were denied visas.
- The decision of the Spain embassy left WFI assistant secretary Vinod Tomar furious, who stated their visas were denied on 'frivolous' grounds.
- Only six of the nine coaches that applied for visas were granted access.
Only one free-style wrester got the approval
While 10 free-style wrestlers applied for visas, only Aman (57kg) received the green signal. Three free-style coaches were granted visas. Six Greco Roman wrestlers were among others to have secure visa. Among women athletes, only Ankush (50kg) and Mansi (59kg) received a go-ahead. As several promising Indian wrestlers will miss the tournament, Tomar lashed out on the embassy for their bizarre verdict.
What did Vinod Tomar say?
Tomar stated that the Spain embassy didn't consider the Indian government's clearance and the invitation from the world governing body UWW. "This is something we have never faced before," he told PTI. "Our wrestlers have been denied visas on the most frivolous ground," he added. Tomar was disappointed with the fact that the numerous wrestlers won't get the opportunity to shine at the event.
Tomar calls Spain embassy's decision bizarre
The WFI assistant secretary couldn't make much of Spain embassy's suspicion that the Indian athletes won't leave the country after the tournament. "I really don't know how the officer came to the conclusion that wrestlers and coaches won't come back to India," he stated. "Our wrestlers are strong medal contenders, they have denied them the opportunity to shine on the big stage."
Mahabir Prasad calls for ban on Spain
Mahabir Prasad, the chief coach of the Greco Roman squad, batted for a ban on Spain. "This is really humiliating. What do they think of Indian wrestlers and coaches?" said Mahabir, who is also a Dronacharya awardee. "Spain should be fined and banned. It has already created a huge issue at the Championship. It's a matter of shame for Spain as a country."