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Sports Ministry assures help to stranded hockey Olympian in USA

Sports Ministry assures help to stranded hockey Olympian in USA

The Bridge Desk

Published: 10 April 2020 7:56 AM GMT

In a swift response, sports minister Kiren Rijiju has guaranteed all possible assistance to former hockey player Ashok Diwan, who is currently stranded in the U.S.A and is struggling with health issues.

This comes a day after the member of India’s triumphant Hockey World Cup team of 1975 urged the Indian authorities for help in view of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The Indian Embassy in San Francisco has been contacted and they are sending a doctor to attend Diwan who is currently dealing with health issues, read a report by IANS.

“Hockey Olympian Ashok Diwan is stranded in the U.S. and is unwell. He reached out to Kiren Rijiju through IOA. The Indian Embassy in San Francisco has been contacted, they’re sending a doctor to attend to Mr. Diwan to ensure he receives immediate medical attention.”

The 65-year-old Diwan had reached out to the president of the Indian Olympic Association, Narinder Batra, pleading for help. “I need your help as you know I am stuck in USA and have developed some health problems. Being a high blood pressure (patient) I had to attend hospital in emergency last week in California,” read his letter to Batra.

Originally scheduled to fly back to Delhi on April 20 by Air India, Diwan had been stranded due to travel restrictions in place amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“My travel dates have been pushed (further). I am not feeling well these days and doesn’t have any (medical) insurance here. As you know the medical costs are very high here,” wrote Diwan.

The former goalkeeper added, “I request Union Sports Minister (Kiran Rijiju) and Union External Minister (S. Jaishankar) to instruct the Indian Embassy at San Francisco to help me with a hospital for my checkup or if they can arrange earlier departure from San Francisco to India. I will pay the bills when I come back in India.”

“Treat this as urgent as I am really in bad health here,” concluded Diwan with a fervent appeal.

The country is presently under a complete lockdown for 21 days, ending on April 14 in view of the dreaded outbreak that has claimed 199 lives so far in India alone. The Indian government has also made it clear that any decision to allow foreign flights to operate to India can be taken only once the current lockdown period ends on April 14 midnight.

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