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Pakistan to participate in Asian wrestling championships in India

Pakistani wrestlers will participate in the Asian Championships set to be held in New Delhi from February 18 as they were granted visas by the Indian government.

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Uncertainty over Pakistani wrestlers’ participation in the Asian Championships here is finally over after they were granted visas by the government, but the Chinese grapplers’ fate will be known on Monday, a national federation official said on Sunday.

Wrestling Federation of India assistant secretary Vinod Tomar confirmed to PTI that after days of uncertainty, the entire Pakistani contingent have been granted visas.

“The entire Pakistan contingent were granted visas on Saturday. I met Sports Secretary Radhey Shyam Julaniya on Friday and he instantly took up the matter with Home Secretary after which the visas were issued,” Tomar said.

“Indian Olympic Association President Narinder Batra also played a crucial role in in the entire process.”

Pakistan is sending a contingent of four freestyle wrestlers, one coach and one referee in the Championships to be held in New Delhi from February 18 to 23.

The Pakistani wrestling contingent will, thus, become the first team from the neighbouring country to travel to India for a sporting event after the Pulwama terror attack in February last year.

The four Pakistan wrestlers who will be competing are Muhammad Bilal (57kg), Abdul Rehman (74kg), Tayab Raza (97kg) and Zaman Anwar (125kg).

The denial of visas to Pakistani wrestlers could have led to serious repercussions for India, including a possible ban on the Wrestling Federation of India by the world body (UWW), that too in an Olympic year.

However, it was still not clear regarding the 40-strong Chinese wrestling contingent as their travel documents are yet to be cleared because of the deadly coronavirus outbreak that has put several travel restrictions on people coming from that country.

The Indian government has even cancelled all e-visas for Chinese nationals due to the virus outbreak that has killed more than 1500 people till date.

“The Chinese contingent is yet to get visas and a final decision on their participation will be known on Monday,” Tomar said.

“The issues involving China is serious because the cornonavirus outbreak has become a global threat.

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