India's world number 20 shuttler N Sikki Reddy cries out for financial help on Twitter
What's the story?
As Glasgow prepares for the Badminton World Championships, scheduled to begin on August 21st, 10 Indian players are still awaiting the arrival of their UK visas, having applied for them since August 2. One of these names is that of N Sikki Reddy, Brazil and Russia Open Grand Prix winner.
Recently, world number 20, Reddy was seen making an anguished plea for financial help on Twitter where she stated, "Think of it. Being 20 in the world and career best was 13 don't have a single sponsorship and we are not supported by any foundation".
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This unfortunate revelation came to light only when doubles star Chirag Shetty had resorted to Twitter for help as well. He had appealed to the honourable minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, the minister of Youth Affairs as well as Vijay Goel, in an attempt to ensure their visa arrivals.
The squad is scheduled to leave for Scotland on August 17, tomorrow.
The heart of the matter
With just a day to go, Sikki Reddy's anguish could be felt from her tweet. Having applied for her UK visa along with Ashwini Ponnappa, whose visa was cleared late in the afternoon, Reddy has to sort her clearance before Wednesday if she has to travel with the team.
According to a BAI official handling travel plans for the team, the delay for the visas is due to the fact that they were not applied for in time by the respective players. He claims that given the limited time on hand, a fast track process for the application should have been sought.
Sikki, on the other hand, was stated saying that she and her fellow team mates had applied for their visas two weeks ago, having paid Rs 7000 as the processing fee. She also went on to say that she did not opt a fast track visa because that would mean a higher payment of Rs 17,000.
After her announcement of having no sponsorship or foundation backing, it is yet to be seen if Reddy and the others will have their visas cleared before their departure date.
Shlok Ramchandran, K. Manisha, R. Satwiksairaj and Chirag Shetty, are among those who are awaiting their visas.
Since this is the first time that the team has secured an admirable place for itself at the World Championships, it would be a dampener to their spirits if they are deprived of this opportunity due to visas clearance issues.