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Skier Himanshu Thakur, brother of Aanchal, seeks govt help for Iranian visa

Himanshu Thakur is held up in Frankfurt but wants to travel directly to Iran to take part in a qualifying event for next month’s Winter Olympics in South Korea.

other sports Updated: Jan 15, 2018 00:06 IST
Shimla
Himanshu Thakur,Aanchal Thakur,Sushma Swaraj
Himanshu Thakur is currently held up in Frankfurt.(Twitter/Himanshu Thakur)

Himanshu Thakur, brother of Aanchal Thakur, who last week became India’s first woman skier to win an international medal, has sought urgent government help for Iranian visa to enter a crucial qualifying event for next month’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The alpine skier from Himachal Pradesh who took part in the 2014 Sochi Games, is stuck in Frankfurt after failing to get visa to directly travel to Iran for the two-day event starting on Monday.

Aanchal, whose achievement was hailed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has also appealed to him on behalf of her brother.

Himanshu is in a bind because he had travelled to Iceland for a meet, which was cancelled due to bad weather. The Winter Games Federation of India (WGFI) had applied for his visa, but Iranian authorities have asked him to approach its New Delhi embassy.

On Sunday, Himanshu was stopped at the Frankfurt airport from travelling to Iran.

His father, Roshan Thakur, said, “We’ve received the principal approval and reference number. However, officials in Iran have asked my son to visit its embassy in New Delhi. Since the race is to be held on Monday, it is difficult for him to do that.”

On Saturday, Himanshu appealed to the Prime Minister, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.

“I request @SushmaSwaraj Swaraj, external affairs minister, @Ra_THORe Rathore, sports minister and @narendramodi hon’ble prime minister to kindly help me. I want to race in Iran to qualify for winter Olympics but host country is denying visa on arrival,” he tweeted.

Rathore responded by tweeting that his ministry was in touch with the external affairs ministry to get the issue resolved.

Himanshu has qualified from four races so far but needs to make it from one more event to make a cut for Pyeongchang.

“Himanshu and his coach Hira Lal are travelling from Iceland to Tehran. They have no time to apply for regular VISA,” Aanchal said.

She tweeted: “My brother Himanshu Thakur has tomorrow last chance to qualify for Winter Olympics 2018. I kindly request hon’ble PM @narendramodi, foreign minister @SushmaSwaraj, sports minister @Ra_THORe,chief minister HP. @jairamthakurbjp to help him in granting arrival visa in Tehran,Iran. (sic)”

First Published: Jan 14, 2018 23:45 IST