Pending visas for the Indian contingent for the World Cup Para Sport Shooting in Chateauroux, France, next week were approved on Saturday after an initial rejection due to a last-minute intervention by the Indian government.
Six members of the contingent, including two-time Paralympic medalist Singharaj Adhana, were initially denied visas to travel to France, despite the intervention of the Indian government.
But the Sports Authority of India (SAI) said later in the day that the visas of the remaining contingent members had been cleared by the French Embassy after the Ministry of Sports and the Ministry of External Affairs were intervened for the second time.
“The pending visas of 3 athletes and 4 support staff from the Indian para-shooter contingent traveling to France for the competition have been approved by the French Embassy after further requests from MYAS and MEA. The team will fly to France tomorrow,” the ISC said. in a tweet.
The Indian team should be able to reach France in time for the event, as it starts on June 6, according to the schedule given on the International Paralympic Committee website.
The visa denial case came to light after Tokyo Paralympic Games gold medalist Avani Lekhara took to Twitter asking for help following her escort and mother Shewata’s visa denial. Jewaria and her trainer Rakesh Manpat.
Avani then confirmed the authorization of the visas by the French Embassy.
“I have visas, I’m going tomorrow. Have gratitude for everything that happens in life!” she tweeted.
Earlier, speaking to PTI from the airport, National Head Coach and President of Indian Para Shooting Jai Prakash Nautiyal said visas for Lekhara and his coach Manpat had been approved.
“Avani and her trainer’s visas were granted but her escort, who is also her mother, did not get her visa,” Nautiyal said.
“Additionally, three para shooters – Singharaj, Rahul Jhakhar and Deepinder Singh (all para pistol shooters) and two coaches Subhas Rana (national coach) and Vivek Saini (assistant coach) did not get their visas.
“The French Embassy didn’t mention any reason, just said there was a huge wave of visas. We applied for our visas on April 23 and were sure we got all the clearances. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) also stepped in and was helping us but despite that, six members’ visas were denied,” he added.
The event is significant for Indian para shooters as quota places for the Paris Paralympic Games were offered there.
“We are now leaving with a contingent of 22 members, including 14 shooters. We were confident enough to get visas for all members as Paris will be hosting the next Paralympic Games and there are 18 quota places on offer at the Paralympic Games in 2024.” Nautiyal said.