Visa Issue hits Indian Athletics: India to miss World Relays; Poovamma & Anas face trouble from China


The men’s and women’s 4x440m relay teams are all set to miss the prestigious IAAF World Relays that begins in Nassau, Bahamas, starting today (April 22) due to a delay in the process of granting transit visas by the American embassy.

The Indian contingent had applied for the same on April 7 right after procuring the Bahamas visa. However, they were informed recently that their biometric procedure has been scheduled for April 20 while the interview will follow a day later. This makes it impossible for them to attend the event.

This is the third edition of the IAAF World Relays which started in 2014. Originally held annually, it is now a biennial event and has relay races, some of which are not included in the standard Olympic programme.

“We had applied for the American transit visas on April 7, as soon as we got the visas from the Bahamas. We have now been told that the biometric procedure will be done on Thursday and the visa interview will happen on Friday,” an Athletics Federation of India (AFI) official told.

MR Poovamma and Muhammad Anas to miss Asian Grand Prix in China:

India’s top 400m athletes Muhammad Anas and MR Poovamma will also miss first and second legs of the Asian Grand Prix, which will be held in Jinhua and Jiaxing in China on April 24 and April 27 respectively.

13 other athletes, as well as four coaches, have already got their visas but Anas and Poovamma are the only two Indians who have had to face these hassles.

Interestingly, the Chinese embassy has not declined their visas but has asked to withhold their passports for a month after which it has promised to grant the visa. Due to time constraints, it has not been possible for the athletes to keep their passports with the embassy for that long and the AFI has been forced not to send Anas and Poovamma to China.

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