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IOA lodges protest with IOC, US Oly body over archers visa row


New Delhi: Taking a serious view of the US Embassy here refusing to grant visas to 21 Indian archers bound for World Youth Championships, the Indian Olympic Association has decided to lodge a strong protest with its parent body, the IOC and its United States counterpart for the treatment meted out to the young athletes.

IOA Secretary General Rajiv Mehta told that the national sports apex body considered the matter as a serious one and something which should not happen in future.

“Our archers have lost out a chance to compete at the world level. More than that, such things should not have happened in international sport. It is the first time that visas to sportspersons who are to take part in an international event have been denied like this. The IOA takes the matter very seriously,” Mehta said.

“It is surprising that some seven-eight persons have been cleared for the visa while the remaining are not. We are writing to the IOC as well as to the United States Olympic Committee asking why this has happened. Now, the archers cannot take part in the event but I am writing to the IOC and also the US NOC to ensure that such things do not happen in future,” he added.

The Indian archery team had to be pulled out of the World Youth Archery Championships at Yankton, South Dakota after 21 of its 31-member team were denied visas by the US Embassy here on apprehensions that they would not return to India.

The US embassy granted visa to only seven archers, two coaches and a Sports Authority of India official while rejecting 21. Apart from the archers, India’s well-travelled Korean coach Chae Wom Lim was also refused visa.

The Indian contingent, comprising Under-20 boys and girls, was scheduled to leave for the US today for the June 8-14 event.

A disappointed Archery Association of India President Vijay Kumar Malhotra said that he has already lodged a protest with the World Archery Association top brass over the incident.

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