Delayed flight forces Indian archers to miss World Cup Stage I

The Indian archers on Saturday were forced to miss a major event in the 2019 calendar, the World Cup Stage I in Medelline, Colombia, due to a flight issue.

The World Cup at Medelline is scheduled to be held from April 22-28.   -  FILE PHOTO/BISWARANJAN ROUT

The Indian archers on Saturday were forced to skip a major event in the 2019 calendar, the World Cup Stage I in Medelline, Colombia, due to flight issues.

According to sources, a 14-member Indian archery team was supposed to fly out from Delhi to Medelline, via Amsterdam, in two batches on Saturday and Sunday. When the first batch reached the airport, they were informed by the KLM airlines officials that since the flight was delayed there was no certainty of the archers catching their connecting flight from Amsterdam at a gap of one-and-a-half hours.

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After the return of the first batch from airport, the Archery Association of India (AAI), which booked a long-haul flight in the last minute (apparently at a higher price) despite picking the team in Bhubaneswar by March 18, cancelled the whole tour as the second batch also faced a similar situation.

The cancellation of the first major tour will deprive the recurve archers of a good exposure in the pre-Olympic year. This is likely to affect their participation in the World Cup Finals and preparations for the all-important World championships, which will serve as an Olympic qualifying event later this year.

The development will also affect the compound archers, who will miss out on an important assignment and may miss the chance to compete in the World Cup Finals. The AAI officials and team members could not be reached despite several attempts.

“There was no alternate flights available for such a big contingent. We tried different options but it was not possible to reach before Monday. Now we have to return to our camp in Pune,” a dejected women’s coach Purnima Mahato told PTI.

This means Deepika Kumari will not be able to defend her individual title that she had won at the stage one of the World Cup in 2018 which was held in Salt Lake City.

The World Cup at Medelline is scheduled to be held from April 22-28.

(With inputs from PTI)