It is a situation any national sports federation (NSF) would like to steer clear of with just days remaining for the 2019 World Judo Championship that gets underway at Tokyo, Japan from August 25 and runs till September 1. The Judo Federation of India (JFI) is literally ‘racing against time’ to ensure that its World Championship-bound Indian judo contingent is issued visas at the earliest.
It may be noted that the Judo Federation of India had picked a 11-member judo contingent for the big-ticket event that will comprise seven weight categories – Extra Lightweight (60-kg), Half Lightweight (66-kg), Lightweight (73-kg), Half Middleweight (81-kg), Middleweight (90 kg), Half Heavyweight (100 kg) and Heavyweight (+100 kg) in the men’s section. The women’s section also features seven categories as well – Extra Lightweight (48-kg), Half Lightweight (52-kg), Lightweight (57-kg), Half Middleweight (63-kg), Middleweight (70 kg), Half Heavyweight (78-kg) and Heavyweight (+78 kg).
With the 2019 World Judo Championship only two days away, the Judo Federation of India is doing everything possible to ensure visas are granted at the earliest so that the Indian judokas get an opportunity to perform at the marquee event. It is reliably learnt that the JFI had received the championship entry-cum-visa support letter through the online route on August 18 and subsequently the federation had accepted the hard copy of the same on August 21 (Wednesday) – this resulted in the delay in granting of visas to the Indian judokas.
It is also learnt that the selection of the Indian judo team for the 2019 World Judo Championship was carried out on July 10. Keeping aside the visa issue, the Indian judokas for the 2019 World Judo Championship are made to take care of their own expenses as the federation hasn’t got any funding support from the government. According to a JFI source, the federation had given the national team’s entries well in advance and did not sound out the government on the same and nor does the federation has funds to sponsor the World Championship-bound Indian judo contingent.
It may be worth recalling that the Judo Federation of India is grappling with funds crunch to send the national team for the Commonwealth Judo Championship to be held in the UK in September. India is looking to send a big contingent for the Commonwealth Judo Championship and is reportedly talking to the government for funding assistance.
It is essential to understand that the sport of judo in India got a new lease of life last year when the Judo Federation of India elections were held in February 2018, which saw Partap Singh Bajwa and Man Mohan Jaiswal elected as President and General Secretary respectively after the federation was de-recognised by the Sports Ministry for violating the National Sports Development Code guidelines.
Visa ambiguities have been often creating major obstructions for Indian athletes to participate in various international events and across the world, not long ago, Indian PUBG professional teams – Team SouL (SOUL), TeamIND landed up in trouble to participate at a tournament in Germany owing to visa denial. On Thursday, shuttler Ruthvika Shivani took to Twitter the problem she is facing to participate in international events in Belarus and Ukraine, owing to visa denials.