After being stranded in U.S., Ashok Diwan returns to India

Diwan returned to Delhi in the morning on Friday and will undergo a 14-day quarantine at a hotel in the city.

Diwan thanked the IOA president, the sports minister and the Indian mission in the U.S. for their support. - S. S. KUMAR (REPRESENTATIVE)

India’s World Cup-winning hockey goalkeeper Ashok Diwan, who was stuck in the United States due to the travel ban imposed for containing the spread of coronavirus pandemic, returned to the country on Friday.

With his health deteriorating, the 65-year-old Diwan had made a distress call to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra last month, requesting him to take his plea to the higher authorities. The Sports Ministry had forwarded his request to the Ministry of External Affairs.

“I returned to Delhi this morning and right now I am undergoing the 14-day mandatory quarantine period at a hotel in Dwarka. Health-wise I had a few tough days and it feels great to return to my own country,” Diwan told PTI.

The spike in COVID-19 pandemic cases across the globe has forced the countries to enforce lockdown in their territories. “During this time of distress, senior players, colleagues, hockey lovers and friends kept me motivated. I am now doing O.K. health wise and improving,” Diwan said.

Help and support

The 1975 World Cup-winning former player thanked Batra, Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju and the Indian mission in the U.S. for their help and cooperation during the difficult times. “I am indebted to Mr. Batra , Hon’ble Sports Minister, the External Affairs Minister Indian Ambassador in U.S. Taranjit Sandhu and Indian embassy officials and the media for all the help and support,” Diwan said.

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“The love and support I got from my countrymen kept me going in the foreign land.”

Diwan, a member of the 1976 Olympic team, travelled to Sacramento in December 12 last year to spend time with his son, who works there. He was scheduled to head back to India on April 20 but could not due to the travel restrictions.

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