Junior World Cup-bound shooters facing visa glitch

NEW DELHI: Junior Indian shooters are fretting over their visa application for the ISSF Junior World Cup in Germany’s Suhl, which is yet to be cleared by the German embassy in Delhi. TOI has learnt that 21 members of the 81-strong contingent are awaiting visas for the tournament, scheduled from May 9 to 20.

Among them is chief 25m pistol coach Ronak Pandit. Tokyo Olympians and star pistol shooters, Saurabh Chaudhary and Manu Bhaker, will spearhead the Indian challenge at the meet. The contingent will leave for the World Cup on May 8.

The National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) has already paid for the accommodation and entry fee to the Organising Committee and air tickets have also been booked. The non-participation of these shooters and coaches will lead to a loss of more than 25 lakhs for the federation, sources told TOI. NRAI had originally written to the embassy on April 12, requesting them to process the visa application for 81 members from Delhi.

A total of 25 members outside north zone were to approach the regional German consulates to get appointments for their visas. As most of the shooters were in Delhi for the selection trials and subsequent national camp, the NRAI wrote to the embassy for processing the entire contingent’s visas from Delhi, while also requesting 25 shooters and coaches to approach their consulates for appointments.

Out of those 25, three shooters (Abhinav ShawKolkata, Tilottama Sen-Bengaluru, Esha Singh Hyderabad) were given appointments and had their visas processed. Umamhesh Maddineni has an appointment scheduled on May 5 at the Hyderabad consulate. But the rest couldn’t get in touch with their respective regional consulates.

The Chennai regional consulate has closed down. The sports ministry, on NRAI’s request, has approached the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on April 26 to urgently take up the matter with the embassy. The German host federation has also initiated dialogue with the embassy in Delhi. But with two more days left for boarding, the shooters are facing anxious moments instead of focusing on the task at hand.