Ace Indian athlete Neeraj Chopra’s training-cum-competition stint in Europe has been delayed by a few days. The Sports Authority of India (SAI) confirmed the reason behind this hindrance to be India currently being placed as a high-risk country with COVID-19 infection.
The apex body stated that Chopra awaits the internal authorisation letter issued by the French Interior Ministry which is required to travel. However, the SAI confirmed that the 23-year old along with his team got their visa last week.
“…Neeraj Chopra’s travel plan to France has been delayed by a few days as India is currently placed as a high-risk country with COVID-19 infection and thus a person travelling to France requires an internal authorisation letter issued by the French Interior Ministry to travel.
“Even though Neeraj and his team got their visa on Friday, he is yet to get the above-mentioned authorization letter,” the Sports Authority of India (SAI) said in a statement.
The statement further added that the SAI has been in constant touch with the members of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) who are further pursuing the matter with the Indian Embassy in Paris.
“Accordingly, his travel plans have been rescheduled and SAI is in regular touch with officials of MEA, who are further pursuing the matter with the Indian Embassy in Paris. The required authorisation letter by the French interior ministry is expected soon,” it added.
‘Chopra will leave on Thursday’: AFI source
The star javelin thrower hasn’t participated in any event since qualifying for the Olympics in March last year. Meanwhile, an Athletics Federation of India (AFI) source confirmed that the Tokyo-bound athlete is set to leave for Europe on Thursday.
“He is still here and will go on Thursday,” the source told PTI.
The reigning Commonwealth and Asian Games champion had earlier tweeted about receiving his visa to travel to France. The national record holder with a throw of 88.07m is one of the greatest medal contenders from the Indian contingent for the much-awaited 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
“Granted visa to travel to France. I am very happy that I am getting a chance to compete in international competitions before #Tokyo2020,” Chopra had tweeted.