Travelling with son will help compete freely in Tokyo: Sania Mirza
Sania Mirza can travel with her two-year old son Izhann to the United Kingdom as she begins her preparation for the Tokyo Olympics starting next month.
After waiting for around three weeks, the UK government has issued the visa for her son and her sister.
“I am grateful to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, PMO and everyone else for facilitating this because it was very difficult for me to leave my toddler for five weeks and go to Tokyo from there,” she said.
Mirza, who will get to play in Tokyo through her protected rankings, said she can now train and compete freely. Though she was issued the UK visa, she had reached out to the sports ministry, which got in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs to facilitate travel for her son.
“It was going on for close to three weeks and I was a little bit anxious. You can’t blame anyone for the situation but I am glad it came through.”
She will have to go through a 10-day quarantine, which means she will miss the Nottingham Open starting on June 6. The doubles star is likely to start her season at Birmingham Open on June 14. She will compete at the Eastbourne Open from June 20, followed by Wimbledon, which starts on June 28. She will fly directly to the Tokyo Olympics.
“I have always given my 100 percent for the country regardless of the circumstances. It was something that was bothering me. As athletes we are able to separate on-court and off-court activities. But at the end of it, we are human beings and for a mother it is very difficult to stay away from your child. I have done it in the past but not for more than 10 days," said the 34-year-old.
“With my son being there and my sister helping me take care of him while I compete and train, it will give me peace of mind,” said the multiple times grand slam doubles champion.
Ace javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra still awaits an authorisation letter from France for his travel to train and compete in Europe. “Though he has got his visa, he has yet to get an authorisation letter from the French interior ministry. His travel plan has been rescheduled and SAI is in regular touch with officials of MEA who are pursuing the matter with the embassy in Paris,” Sports Authority of India said.