Indian teams not to go for World Relays

Delay in U.S. visa process forces AFI to pull out of the World Relays. The team has been asked to concentrate on the Asian Grand Prix in China instead.

The heats of the World Relays begin on Saturday and athletes may not get time to acclimatise even if they get the visa.   -  File Photo

After trying for the last few weeks, the Athletics Federation of India has now decided to throw in the towel. The Indian men’s and women’s 4x400m relay teams will not take part in the World Relays, the AFI president Adille Sumariwalla said in a statement on Thursday night.

“It is indeed unfortunate. We received the visa for the Bahamas on April 7 and we were constantly writing to the U.S. visa services department to look into the matter on priority,” said Sumariwalla.

“Today, the team was called for biometric registration and it was done this morning. We were hopeful till today that our requests to U.S. Visa Consular regarding an urgent appointment for interviews would be considered but nothing like that happened, and interviews are scheduled for Friday.

“Even after interviews, we are not sure whether the visa will be granted on the same day, so we have decided to call it off now. And even if they get visa and fly the same night, they will reach on Saturday.”

“The heats of the World Relays begin on Saturday and we can’t expect them to run after such a long tiring journey and put them at risk. We have asked the team to now focus on Asian Grand Prix series scheduled to be held in China and Chinese Taipei.”

P.T. Usha got a call from the AFI to rush to New Delhi with her two star runners Tintu Luka and Jisna Mathew on Wednesday night for the biometric formalities but she decided not to go.