Spanish Embassy Denies Visas For Indian Wrestling Team

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India’s top wrestlers will not be able to take part in the U-23 World Wrestling Championships in Pontevedra, Spain, as the Spanish Embassy rejected visa applications for the majority of them, the Indian Federation announced on Monday. of struggle (WFI). No less than 21 wrestlers, mainly in freestyle, will miss the tournament.

The national federation said it would write to United World Wrestling (UWW), the sport’s global body, and ask them not to give Spain hosting rights for any future tournaments.

India entered 30 wrestlers for the competition but only nine, including six in Greco-Roman, got their visas, much to the surprise of WFI. The world championships started on Monday.

“We will not be able to send our team. The total squad roster, including wrestlers and support staff, was 46. We had submitted applications on October 4, but the women’s team will not be able to board their flight tonight (Monday) because their visas were rejected,” said Vinod Tomar, deputy secretary of the WFI. said.

The team included Antim Panghal, who became the first Indian woman to win gold at the U-20 World Championships this season. In fact, the Indian girls won five medals at the previous edition of the U-23 Worlds in Poland and were looking to improve their performance.

“Antim was a gold medal contender and we were aiming for a big shot, especially in the girls. It was a very important tournament for them, but only two girls got their visas,” Tomar said.

WFI is also upset with the reason given for the “visa denial”. The rejected application from one of the girls reads: “there are reasonable doubts as to your intention to leave the territory of the Member States before the expiry of the visa”.

“It has never happened to us that a (Schengen) visa has been refused for such a reason. We told them it was an important competition. We wrote to the organizers, informed UWW to speak to the Spanish Embassy. All this was done, but they did not move. Are our daughters going to flee their country? We’ve been to age group events around the world, but nothing untoward has happened. The Spanish embassy had been sitting on visa applications for days and today when we asked for our passports to be returned they sent it with denials,” Tomar said.

“We will write to the UWW not to give Spain hosting rights in the future.”

There was no immediate response to a request for comment from the Spanish Embassy.

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