Three wushu players from Arunachal Pradesh, who were to take part in the World University Games beginning on Friday in Chengdu, were issued ‘stapled visas’ by the Chinese embassy in New Delhi, which led to the entire team being held back while the players from other sports left the country.
Eight wushu players and four team officials were to travel to China from the Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi in the wee hours of Thursday (1am), but all of them have now been told to stay put by the government.
Three of the players — Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega and Mepung Lamgu — are from Arunachal Pradesh.
A Wushu Association of India official said unlike other multi-sport events like the Asian Games or Olympics, the accreditation of the players and officials for the World University Games is to be collected at the venue and they needed to apply for visas.
In the past also, in case of events held under the aegis of the Asian or world governing bodies of a particular sport, China had issued ‘stapled visas’ to players from Arunachal Pradesh.
“Despite the World University Games being such a big multi-sport event, the participants will have to collect their accreditation at the host country venue only. Nobody gets the accreditation in India before departure,” the official told PTI.
“So, we need to apply for visas and the World University Games organisers (from China) sent an invite which is to be used for visa applications. All of the players and officials got the proper visas but the three players from Arunachal Pradesh got stapled visas.”
The Association of Indian Universities (AIU), which is the governing body for university sports in the country, had intimated the Chinese Embassy about the visa application. The wushu players visited the visa application centre on July 17.
While all the other nine in the wushu contingent got their visas on July 20, the three players from Arunachal were told on July 24 to re-apply. After that, they got ‘stapled visa’ on Wednesday.
“The entire wushu contingent is staying put here and waiting for instructions from the government regarding the next course of action. It is very unfortunate,” the official added.
“We are also hoping that the AIU officials who have left for China along with the contingent from other sports will do something and sort out the matter with the Chinese organisers.”
Wushu competitions in the World University Games will be held from July 29 to August 3.
Past instances of Chinese Embassy issuing ‘stapled visa’
In the past also, sportspersons from Arunachal Pradesh had to miss international events in China due to the ‘stapled visa’ issue.
In 2011, an official of the Indian Weightlifting Federation hailing from Arunachal Pradesh and a weightlifter from the same state were to travel to China to take part in a grand prix event in China but they missed out after they were issued ‘stapled visa’.
The same year, five karate players from Arunachal Pradesh who were to travel to China for a championship met with the same fate, as also two young archers who were to take part in the Youth World Archery Championship.
What will happen to Arunachal players in upcoming Asian Games in China!
A few sportspersons from Arunachal Pradesh have been named by their respective national federations — karate, taekwondo and skateboarding — for the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China from September 23 to October 8.
The sports ministry is yet to finalise the Indian contingent for individual events but officials said their participation, if cleared by the government, in the Asian Games is unlikely to face problem like the current one regarding the World University Games.
“There should not be any problem for players from Arunachal Pradesh in the Asian Games. Multi-sports events like the Asian Games and Olympics are different as the players’ participation is done through Indian Olympic Association,” a former IOA official said.
The Asian Games and Olympics are held under the aegis of Olympic Council of Asia and International Olympic Committee, the top bodies of the Olympic movement in the continent and the world respectively.
“In the Asian Games or Olympics, the participants and officials normally get accreditation in India before departure. The accreditation serves as the visa,” the official said.
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