Vastavam web: A six-member Pakistan team will take part in the Asian Athletics Championships to be held in Bhubaneswar from July 6-9 as the Indian government has given visa to them, a development which was welcomed by the Athletics Federation of India.AFI Secretary C K Valson said that Pakistani athletes have got the visas and they are expected to arrive in Bhubaneswar in the next two-three days.The participation of the Pakistanis in the Asian Championships had remained in doubt as their visas were delayed and AFI President Adille Sumariwalla could not last week confirm whether they would take part or not.
Due to the worsening relation between the two neighbouring countries, Pakistan could not take part in the Asian Wrestling Championships here and Asian Snooker Championships in Chennai in May as their players were not given visas.Last December, the Pakistan hockey team was not granted visas for the FIH Junior World Cup in Lucknow. India has also refused to play bilateral cricket with Pakistan and the country’s sports minister has even gone on record that “terrorism and sports can’t go along and Pakistan should understand that”.
The team will leave via Wagah border on July 3 and from Amritsar, then they will proceed to Bhubaneswar by air.Those who were granted visas are javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem, 400m hurdler Mehboob Ali, his brother Nokar Hussain, Asad Iqbal, Mazhar, Waqar Younis. Syed Fayyaz Hussain and Mohammad Bilal are the two coaches.However, athlete Nishat and the AFP secretary Mohammad Zafar were denied visas, reports claimed. Zafar was set to attend the Asian Athletics Association (AAA) Congress Meeting on July 4.
More than 800 athletes from 45 countries will take part in the event to be held at the renovated Kalinga Stadium, making it the biggest ever Asian Championships. This is the third time India is hosting the Asian Championships after New Delhi (1989) and Pune (2013).With AFI deputy chief national coach Radhakrishnan Nair and Valson watching them, Siddharth Mohan Naik jumped 7.40m and Nayana James 6.25m while Karthik Unnikrishnan logged 15.92m and Joyline M Loba achieved 12.79m.High hurdler Siddhanth Thingalaya and discus thrower Vikas Gowda, both national record holders, will undergo trials in the Kalinga Stadium complex tomorrow.