The Olympic Council of Asia's (OCA) acting president Randhir Singh on Friday said it is actively pursuing with the Chinese authorities the issue of denial of accreditation to three Asian Games-bound Indian athletes from Arunachal Pradesh.
The three female wushu players from Arunachal Pradesh -- Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega and Mepung Lamgu -- have been denied accreditation, which also works as visa, for the Asian Games that officially gets underway here on Saturday.
The three players were scheduled to fly out of India on Friday night with eight other members of the wushu contingent but were forced to stay back without proper clearance as their accreditation could not be downloaded.
"We had a meeting yesterday with the working group as well and this has been taken up in the working group meeting. They are taking it up with the government and we are also taking it up with the government," veteran administrator Randhir said in a press conference. "It is under discussion with us as well.
This is outside of what the government-to-government is happening. We are from the OCA side of it. We are doing it." The northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh is viewed by China in its entirety as Chinese territory. Wushu is a multidisciplinary martial art that is believed to have originated in China.
Also Read: Arunachal to host mega marathon at 10,000 feet above sea level on October 1
"This has been brought to our notice yesterday, and we are taking up this matter with the Organizing Committee and we are trying to find a solution. We will then inform you about it. We are on it now," said Vinod Tiwari, the OCA's acting director general. However, Wei Jizhong, chairman of OCA's ethics committee, claimed the "Indian athletes have been granted the visa to enter China."
"These Indian athletes have already got the visa to enter China. China didn't refuse any visa. The problem is according to Chinese govt regulations, we have the right to give them different kind of visas. We have an arrival visa, we have a paper visa, and we have a passport as visa," Jizhong said. "Unfortunately, these athletes didn't accept this visa. I don't think this is OCA problem because China has an agreement to let all the athletes who have certified eligibility to come to compete in China. This is clear.
The visa has already been granted," Jizhong added. The Indian government has also lodged a strong protest with China over the issue, saying that New Delhi reserves the right to take "suitable measures" to safeguard its interests. External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said as a mark of India's protest against China's discriminatory behaviour, Union Information and Broadcasting and Sports Minister Anurag Singh Thakur has cancelled his scheduled visit to China for the Games. Describing the Chinese action as targeting of the sportspersons in a "pre-meditated" manner, Bagchi said the move violates both the spirit of the Asian Games and the rules governing their conduct as they "explicitly prohibits discrimination" against competitors from member states. It is not the first time that an issue with regards to Arunachal Pradesh athletes has surfaced.
In July, India had cancelled its wushu team's trip to Chengdu for the World University Games when China issued stapled visas to players, triggering angry reactions from the government. Kiren Rijiju, who is an MP from Arunachal Pradesh, condemned the Chinese action. "I strongly condemn this act by China to deny visas to our Wushu Athletes from Arunachal Pradesh who were to participate in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou," Rijiju posted on X.
"This violates both the spirit of Sports & also the Rules governing the conduct of Asian Games, which explicitly prohibits discrimination against competitors from member states. "Arunachal Pradesh is not a disputed territory but inalienable part of India. Entire people of Arunachal Pradesh resolutely oppose any illegal claim of China on it's land and people. International Olympic Committee should reign in China's illegitimate action."
Copyright©2023 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today