Dutee Chand could see her chances of qualifying in the Tokyo Olympics further shrink after her late application for visa for Ireland and Germany could see her not getting the permission in time. AFI sources also revealed that Dutee needs these competitions to improve her ranking before Olympics.
Chand has been sponsored by Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT), in Bhubaneswar, and the ace sprinter applied for visas a couple of says back after her coach decided in the last moment that trips to Ireland and Germany was important for her qualification for Olympics, reported TOI.
They weren’t a part of Chand’s schedule submitted to the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) and the Sports Authority of India (SAI), and the sudden requirement has come as a problem. Chand, however, didn’t mention the change in schedule and last moment plans when she tweeted on Thursday that her travel plans were in jeopardy owing to delay in the visa application process. She also requested the immediate intervention of the ministry of external affairs (MEA) into it.
Want to participate in @iaaforg tournaments in Ireland & Germany on 13 and 19 Aug rsptvly. My Visa formalities have not been completed due to some reasons. Request @DrSJaishankar & @MEAIndia to intervene at the earliest and help me participate in the race.🙏🙏🙏— Dutee Chand (@DuteeChand) August 8, 2019
"Yes, we had applied late for visas and there's some delay. But I am not aware of where exactly is the delay. KIIT's director sports, Gaganendu Dash, would tell you more about it. All I know is that these tournaments are important for me," said Chand, reported TOI.
Dash revealed that Chand’s coach Ramesh was late in chalking up the plan and KIIT could apply the visa only on last Monday. With the Ireland High Commission's website mentioning that the current processing time is 15-20 days, the German Embassy would also be taking a similar time. To further complicate things, the embassy would be closed from August 8 to 12.
"Dutee and her coach were supposed to fly out to Ireland on Thursday night, but we cancelled their tickets. Now if nothing happens on Friday, we have to cancel her Ireland trip and will have to wait for the German embassy to reopen. The trip looks difficult," Dash said.
Apart from the delay in applying, Chand’s expired passport number has also been a problem, which has also exacerbated the problem. "We received a call from both the Ireland high commission and German embassy that Dutee's visa application shows two different passport numbers. Her old passport recently expired and she travelled to Italy for the World Universiade on the new passport.
“However, due to an oversight, her application only had the mention of old passport number even though the new passport had also been submitted. We are trying to resolve the matter at the earliest," Dash added.
AFI sources explained that the tournaments in Germany and Ireland would be holding significance because the Olympic qualification time in 100m is 11.15s and for 200m is 22.80s and Chand would need easy competition for now.
"Dutee's personal best in 100m is 11.24s and in 200m is 23.00s, so breaching these marks looks impossible. The only way for her to qualify for Tokyo is to improve her global ranking by competing in tournaments where the field is generally average," the AFI source said.
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