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Visa problems delay departure of junior athletes, some may miss events

A 34-strong Indian athletics squad could not depart from India on time for the Asian Junior Championships starting on Thursday in Taipei City due to visa problems

The 34-member Indian squad that was to leave for Chinese Taipei on Tuesday evening for the Asian Junior Championships to be held at Taipei City from June 12-15 was stranded in Delhi due to delayed visas till late on Tuesday night. The delay has led to some athletes missing events scheduled on the opening day of the event. They will leave at 1am on Thursday.

VFS Global — the visa-facilitating agency erroneously sent the applications to the Chinese Embassy instead of sending them to the Chinese Taipei section. The events start at 8 am at Chinese Taipei local time (5:30 am IST) while the team is likely to reach the city by 11 am. The contingent has missed the opening ceremony of the competition.

According to the tournament schedule, Amolak Singh and Ankit Saini have decathlon 100m events at 9:10 am local time. Medal contender Dutee Chand and Himashree Roy have women’s 100m heat races at 9:20 am local time. Other athletes who are scheduled to be in action on the opening day are Anuj Singh (men’s pole vault final), Prakash Singh and Kapil Mann (both men’s hammer throw final), Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (women’s shot put), Sanjivini Jadhav (women’s 5000m final) and Vijaya Kumari G K (women’s 400m heats).

Nashik’s Sanjeevni Jadhav, a long distance runner participating in the 5000m and 3000m, has her pet event 5000m at 4.20 pm local time. “I had worked so hard for the championship and hoped to do well. Now, this confusion has resulted in our delayed departure and will affect our performance badly. We will reach there only by 12 o’clock local time. My event is at 4.20 pm which means I will hardly get any rest and will have to compete directly. I will give my best and leave the rest to destiny.”

Meanwhile, Navjeet Kaur Dhillon, who will participate in both discus throw and shot put has the latter event in the evening today. She said: “Usually athletes are supposed to reach the venue a couple of days in advance so that they can get accustomed to the conditions there. But that won’t happen with us this time.”

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