New Delhi, June 5: India's participation in the World Youth Archery Championships has been thrown into jeopardy after 20 members of a 31-strong team, including Korean coach Chae Wom Lim, were denied visa by the US embassy here.
The Indian contingent, comprising Under-20 boys and girls, junior archers were scheduled to leave for the US tomorrow for the June 8-14 event in Yankton, South Dakota.
But the US embassy here granted visa to only seven archers, two coaches and a Sports Authority of India official while rejecting 20, thereby putting serious doubts over India's participation in the event.
Besides Lim, three Indian coaches Mim Bahadur Gurung, Chandra Shekhar Laguri, Ram Awdesh and masseuse Pinki were also denied visa. Archery Association of India (AAI) treasurer Virender Sachdeva told PTI that the denial was on the ground that the visa officer was not satisfied with the interview of the rejected individuals and doubted that they may not return after the completion of the event.
"It is really a shocking incident. Most of the archers are from lower strata and hail from states like Assam, Jharkhand, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Most of them are not well versed in English and hence lack in communication. When the visa officer asked them what they do for living, they simply said we are archers and play archery," Sachdeva told PTI.
"This might have raised doubts in the minds of the visa officer, resulting in refusal of visa. But I don't understand why Lim was denied because he is a known figure in world archery and has travelled worldwide," he said.
Sachdeva said what was more shocking was that the visas were denied despite having the Government of India's sanction order and invitation from the US Archery Association.
He said the AAI has approached the Ministry of External Affairs and the Sports Ministry on this issue but to no avail. Sachdeva said that as per US Archery Association's advice, they have re-applied for the visas.
"We have re-applied by submitting new visa fees but we are not sure whether the issue will be solved by tomorrow. If not the three months of practice which these young archers have undergone staying away from their home will be of no use," the AAI official said.