Visa problems ground boxers
New Delhi: Visa problems have forced the cancellation of Indian women boxers` participation in two events and could also jeopardise the male pugilists` preparatory trip to France ahead of the World Championships later this month.
The women boxers have been forced out of both the Nikolaev International Boxing Tournament in Nikolaev, Ukraine (from September 5-11) and the second International Boxing Women`s Tournament at Astana, Kazakhstan (from September 13-17) after being denied visas.
The participation of the 10 member squad in the Ukraine event tournament was put off by the Indian Boxing Federation after "the Embassy of Ukraine in New Delhi did not grant visa on the basis of the Invitation received by the IBF from the Boxing Federation of Ukraine."
As per the Embassy, a clearance letter was required from the Government of Ukraine or the Nikolaev City Council with the team details to be sent by the organisers.
"Unfortunately the IBF did not receive any such letter from the host federation and therefore the Indian engagement had to be called off," the IBF said in a statement.
Participation of a seven-member team in the Kazakhstan was also cancelled because of visa issues.
The IBF claims that it completed the formalities in time but was "intimated by the Kazakhstan Boxing Federation that they will not be able to provide the Visa Support Letter for the said event."
"We did everything on our part to be certain of the team`s participation in both the events. In fact in case of Nikolaev International Boxing Tournament, I personally went to the Embassy of Ukraine to facilitate the procedure.”
"But they had a certain protocol to be followed and I am afraid that the Ukraine Boxing Federation hasn`t been able to provide us with the required document," said IBF Secretary General Brig PK Muralidharan Raja.
Participation of the men`s team, which has been selected for the September 22 to October 10 World Championships in Azerbaijan, in the `Training-cum-Competition` event in France from the September 10 is also "uncertain, owing to difficulties in obtaining the visa from the Embassy of France."
"The federation would only be able to apply for the Schengen visa on the following Monday. The French consulate usually takes about a month in processing the visa paperwork. Though, extensive efforts are still being made by the IBF to ensure India`s participation in the event," the Raja said.