COVID-19: Government to help stranded hockey Olympian Ashok Diwan in America

Updated: Apr 10, 2020, 11:50 IST | PTI | New Delhi

His deteriorating health adding to the trauma, Diwan,65, made a distress call to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra, requesting him to take his plea to the higher authorities

Ashok Diwan
Ashok Diwan

The Sports Ministry on Thursday swung into action after hockey Olympian and member of the 1975 World Cup winning team, Ashok Diwan desperately sought help to get back to country from the USA, where he is struck due to travel restrictions. His deteriorating health adding to the trauma, Diwan,65, made a distress call to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra, requesting him to take his plea to the higher authorities.

Ministry sources confirmed that Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has received the letter and has forwarded the same to the Ministry of External Affairs. “The Sports Minister has asked appropriate authorities to evaluate the situation and take a call on this matter,” a Sports Ministry source told PTI. Dhyanchand awardee Diwan had first approached Batra for help. “I need your help as I am stuck in USA and have developed some health problems. I had to attend hospital in emergency last week in California. I am not feeling well, moreover doesn’t have insurance here. The medical costs are high here,” Diwan wrote to Batra, who also heads International Hockey Federation (FIH).

“Originally, I was supposed to fly back on April 20 by Air India but due to the ongoing epidemic situation my travel dates have been pushed back. I request a favour for forwarding this message to Honourable Sports Minister and External Affairs Minister for helping me with a hospital for my check up or if they can arrange earlier departure to India,” he added.

The hero of 1975 World Cup-winning team also promised to pay all the bills after returning to India. Diwan, a member of the 1976 Olympic team, travelled to Sacremento in December last year to spend time with his son, who works there.

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