Visa issue derails India's participation in IAAF world relays

New Delhi: The Indian men and women's 4x400m relay teams will not be able to participate in the IAAF World relays, to be held in the Bahamas on April 23 and 24, due to delay in procuring visa.

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) had confirmed a 15-member Indian contingent comprising three coaches to the IAAF for participation in the championships.

However, due to the delay in processing of the transit visa formalities by the US visa services department, the team is now unable to travel to the Bahamas.

Adille J Sumariwalla, AFI President, said, "It is indeed unfortunate that Indian team won't be a part of the championships. We received the visa for the Bahamas on April 7th itself and since then we were constantly writing to the US Visa services department to look in to the matter on priority."

"Today, the team was called for biometric registration and it was done this morning. We were hopeful till today that our earlier requests to US Visa Consular regarding an urgent appointment for interviews would be considered but nothing like that happened, and interviews are scheduled for tomorrow (April 21).

The AFI chief felt it would not be fair to expect the athletes to turn up and perform a day after a long journey.

"Even after interviews, we are not sure visa will be granted on the same day, so we have decided to call it off now. And even if they get visa tomorrow and fly tomorrow night itself, they will reach on April 22. We can't expect them to run after such a long tiring journey and put them at risk.

"We have asked the team to now focus on Asian Grand Prix series scheduled to be held in China and Chinese Taipei.

"I thank SAI and Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports officials, they provided all the support whenever we requested on short notice, but sometimes things are beyond our control.