World Athletics Relays: India's participation in doubt due to flight ban

Hima Das (above) and Dutee Chand might miss World Athletics Relays after flight cancellation
Hima Das (above) and Dutee Chand might miss World Athletics Relays after flight cancellation
Kaushiik Paul

India's star sprinters Hima Das and Dutee Chand’s hopes of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics at the World Athletics Relays suffered a setback after the Indian team’s connecting flight to Amsterdam was suspended. The competition is scheduled to be held in Silesia, Poland, on May 1-2.

The Indian men’s 4x400m and women’s 4x100m relay teams were to depart for World Athletics Relays on Wednesday via a KLM flight to Amsterdam. However, the Dutch government has imposed a ban on all flights coming from India, effective Monday evening, following the rapid rise in COVID numbers in the country.

While there has been no intimation from the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), it is understood that the apex body is trying hard to book an alternative flight.

“There is a serious doubt that our team may not be able to take part in the World Relays. Many European countries have suspended flights from India. So, we may be stuck and there is a high possibility that the team may not go for the event,” a top AFI official was quoted as saying to PTI.
“But still we are trying, talking to the government and to our embassies if they can help our athletes to fly in any European city like Frankfurt from where they can proceed to Poland. We are also trying for any connecting flight to Dubai or any other West Asian city," the official added.

Athletes told to be ready for departure anytime

Meanwhile, Sportskeeda has learnt that the athletes, who received their visas a couple of days back, have been told to be ready with their bags packed. There was also a review meeting on Tuesday night between the AFI top officials and the coaches about the current situation.

“We still don’t know whether we are going to Poland or not. We have been told by the coach to be ready,” a Poland-bound athlete told Sportskeeda on condition of anonymity about their chances of going to World Athletics Relays.

The Indian women’s 4x100m team for World Athletics Relays comprises Archana Suseendran, Himashree Roy, S Dhanalakshmi and AT Daneshwari, apart from Dutee and Hima. The top eight teams from the World Athletics Relays will automatically qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee
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