A 30-member strong Indian contingent for the U23 World Wrestling Championships suffered a blow on Monday, as 21 grapplers from the list were denied visas to enter Spain for the competition being held in Pontevedra. Among those denied a visa was India’s first U20 women’s world champion Antim Panghal.
“This is something we have never faced before. Despite presenting the Indian government’s clearance and an invitation from the world governing body (United World Wrestling), our wrestlers have been denied visas on the most frivolous ground,” Wrestling Federation of India Assistant Secretary Vinod Tomar told PTI.
The reason for rejection was that the Embassy of Spain had ‘reasonable doubts’ about the applicants leaving the European country before the visa expired.
“The Embassy of Spain in New Delhi has examined your application and the visa has been refused. The decision is based on the following reasons: the information submitted regarding the justification for the purpose and conditions of the intended stay was not reliable. There are reasonable doubts as to your intention to leave the territory of the Member State before the expiry of the visa,” read the rejection letter given to Panghal, as reported by The Times of India.
A total team of 45 – 30 athletes and 15 coaches – had been named in the Indian contingent for the prestigious world event taking place in north-west Spain.
Among the 10 wrestlers in the men’s freestyle events, only 57kg grappler Aman Sehrawat was granted a visa.
Joining Sehrawat was Mansi Ahlawat (women’s 59kg), Ankush Panghal (women’s 50kg) and six Greco-Roman wrestlers who were granted visas.