NEW DELHI – Chinese wrestlers will be unable to take part in the Asian Wrestling Championships this week after being denied visas because of the coronavirus outbreak, an official said
India’s government has suspended e-visas for Chinese nationals due to the deadly virus that has claimed more than 1,800 lives since spreading from its epicenter in Wuhan, China.
The tournament got underway on Tuesday and runs through Feb. 23.
“They are not coming. Of course health concerns remain a big reason and the coronavirus outbreak is deadly,” Wrestling Federation of India assistant secretary Vinod Tomar told AFP.
A Chinese Federation spokesperson was quoted as saying on the governing body’s United World Wrestling website: “The wrestlers are disappointed for sure.”
Japanese world champions Kenichiro Fumita and Risako Kawai are among top wrestlers taking part.
Indian Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said the denial of visas would not normally be allowed but there were exceptions for an extraordinary health crisis.
“We can’t deny visa to citizens of any country because it is a part of the Olympic charter. We try to keep sports away from politics,” Rijiju told reporters.
“But where there is health concern or any technical issue, there are separate provisions for that.”
The marquee event provides UWW ranking points that count toward seedings at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.