Pakistan squad issued visas for Asian Athletics Championship in Bhubaneswar
A 12-member Pakistan athletics squad was issued visas by Indian authorities and is expected to take part in the Asian Athletics Championship to be held in Bhubaneswar next weekUpdated: Jul 01, 2017 19:49 IST
After some uncertainty, a 12-member Pakistan squad, including three officials, is expected to participate in the Asian Athletics Championships to be held in Bhubaneswar from July 6 to 9 after being issued visas by Indian authorities.
According to an Athletics Federation of India (AFI) official, all nine athletes who applied have been cleared with only two officials out of a 14-member contingent that sought to travel to India not getting visas. The visas will be valid from July 3-10.
The Pakistan squad will take a flight from Lahore or Karachi to New Delhi and take the connecting flight to the Orissa capital.
Due to strained relations between the neighbours, Pakistan had skipped some international competitions held in India, in certain cases after not being issued visas.
Pakistan quarter-miler Mazhar Ali is among those who are expected to take part in the continental meet. Pakistan also has two entries in the men’s 400m hurdles.
Apart from a team from Pakistan that competed in the T20 Blind World Cup held in New Delhi in January, there have been a few international competitions held in Indian soil for in which Pakistan teams did not participate.
In April, the Pakistan team could not compete in the Asian squash championships at Chennai. In May, the wrestling team missed the Asian championships held at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi Indoor Sports Complex.
Indian organisers said they had extended invitation to Pakistan and that visa applications were not submitted in time. Pakistan wrestling federation had contended that they were not issued visas despite applying well in advance.
In recent times, union sports minister Vijay Goel has repeatedly said no bilateral sporting ties were possible with Pakistan as long as it failed to stop cross-border terrorism.
This appeared one of the reasons why Pakistan players were not picked by franchises at the players’ auction for the fifth edition of the Pro Kabaddi League held in May.
Last year, Pakistan did not take part in the FIH Men’s Hockey Junior World Cup at Lucknow.