Anas, Poovamma to miss Asian GP in China over visa issues

“It (The Chinese Embassy) told us that it will keep the passports for one month if we need the visas and in case we can’t wait that long, we can take back the passports. So, we have collected the passports,” an AFI official said.

Muhammed Anas, from Kerala, and Karnataka’s M.R. Poovamma were the only two Indians to get 400m berths in the Asian Grand Prix.

India’s top 400m runners, men’s national record-holder Muhammed Anas and Asian Games women’s bronze medallist M.R. Poovamma, have not got their visas for the Asian Grand Prix, the first leg of which begins in Jinhua, China, on April 24.

“They will not be going to China. The Chinese Embassy has not declined the visas but it has said that in these two particular cases, it will take one month’s time to give the visas. We don’t have the time,” an Athletics Federation of India official told Sportstar on Wednesday evening.

“And the embassy has not given a reason for this. It told us that it will keep the passports for one month if we need the visas and in case we can’t wait that long, we can take back the passports. So, we have collected the passports.”

CHINESE RETALIATION?

This appears to be another case of China’s retaliation to the Dalai Lama’s recent visit to Arunachal Pradesh. “We have never faced a problem getting Chinese visas before. In fact, our race walking team went to China recently and we did not have any problem,” said the AFI official.

“The other 13 athletes and four coaches have got visas.”

Anas, from Kerala, and Karnataka’s Poovamma were the only two Indians to get 400m berths in the Asian Grand Prix. After the first leg in Jinha, the second leg will also be held in China, in Jiaxing on April 27 while the third leg will be in Chinese Taipei on April 30.

WORLD RELAYS TRIP ALMOST OFF

Visa issues continue to trouble Indians in other athletics championships too.

The World Relays begin in Bahamas on April 22 but the Indian men’s and women’s 4x400m relay teams have not got their transit visas from the American Embassy.

“We had applied for the American transit visas on April 7, as soon as we got the visas from the Bahamas, but after days of waiting, we have now been told that the biometric procedure will be done on Thursday and the visa interview will happen on Friday,” said the official.

“So, how can they go for the event that happens on Saturday?”