'Hopefully, this will not happen for Asian Games', says national coach after wushu team is withdrawn from World University Games over 'stapled visas'

New Delhi, July 28 (IANS) After the Indian Wushu team withdrew from World University Games in China due to ‘stapled visas’ given to three Arunachal players, chief national coach Kuldeep Handoo said that players are unfazed by the setback and are “well boosted” as they have enough exposure under their belt.

The Indian wushu team for the World University Games, which begin on Friday in Chengdu, is a mark of protest against China’s decision to issue stapled visas to three players from Arunachal Pradesh.

The wushu team was scheduled to depart on Wednesday night, while the three players were supposed to leave for Chengdu on Thursday night, before the government directed the 12-member team, including eight players, one coach and three officials, suspend their travel plans.

Speaking exclusively to IANS, the Dronacharya Awardee coach said though players put in a lot of hard work and were expecting a good show at the World University Games, they don’t care about this issue much as they are well boosted with adequate exposure, and will soon begin their preparation for the upcoming Asian Games.

“Obviously, at the World Games, we were expecting good results and players would have got great exposure there. But nothing to worry about, our Indian team is really good and we will do way better in Asian Games.

“Players put in a lot of hard work when they prepare themselves for major events. But it was the country’s matter and there is nothing above our nation. When it comes to matters concerning a nation’s prestige, our first priority is always to support and favour our own country.

“Our players are well-boosted, having received sufficient exposure. Now, they will focus on preparing themselves for the Asian Games,” Handoo said.

When asked about the likelihood of encountering similar visa issues when the Asian Games team departs for China, Handoo expressed confidence that the government, being fully aware of the situation, will take proactive measures well in advance to prevent any such situation.

“Asiad and World Games are different, there is an accreditation for Asian Games and I don’t think such issues will occur during the quadrennial event. And, I think the government will take up the matter with the Chinese embassy well before our departure. Hopefully, our team will go for Asian Games, and as far as accreditation is concerned it has been already done.

“Our government is well aware of the situation now. Asian Games is a big event and I think the government will definitely do something so that our Wushu team will go through it,” he added.

Notably, the Indian contingent for the World University Games was selected and sent by the Association of Indian Universities (AIU). The AIU organises selection trials involving athletes from various universities across India to form the contingent that would have represented the country at the Games.

Commenting on the decision to hold back the entire Wush team, AIU joint-secretary Dr. Baljit Singh Sekhon has said: “Decision was taken by the country and we support it. It was a matter of honour of the country and that comes first for us.

The Wushu team was part of the Indian contingent of 300 sportspersons and officials which is the largest ever sent for the University Games, and was to join the Contingent later. It was stopped in India before departure.

–IANS

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