India bars Chinese wrestlers because of coronavirus

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 18 2020 04:37 PM

A woman wearing face mask and raincoat checks her mobile phone inside the Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station on the last day of the Spring Festival travel rush, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, in Shanghai, China February 18, 2020. Aly Song, Reuters

NEW DELHI, India -- Chinese wrestlers will be unable to take part in the Asian Championships in New Delhi 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 the central city of Wuhan.

"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 (UWW) website: "The wrestlers are disappointed for sure."

Japanese world champions Kenichiro Fumita and Risako Kawai are among top wrestlers taking part.

India's 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 Asian Championships, which provide UWW ranking points that count towards seedings at this year's Tokyo Olympics, begin Tuesday and run until February 23.

© Agence France-Presse

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