Olympic-bound star Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra’s training-cum-competition stint in Europe, which will mark his return to international competition after more than a year, has been delayed “by a few days” as he awaits an authorisation letter from France. The 23-year-old Indian, who hasn’t participated in any event since qualifying for the Olympics in March last year, was originally set to leave for France on Monday to prepare himself for the upcoming Tokyo Games. “…Neeraj Chopra’s travel plan to France has been delayed by few days as India is currently placed as a high-risk country with COVID-19 infection and thus a person travelling to France requires an internal authorisation letter issued by French Interior Ministry to travel,” the Sports Authority of India (SAI) said in a statement.
“Even though Neeraj and his team got their visa on Friday, he is yet to get the above-mentioned authorisation letter.
“Accordingly, his travel plans have been rescheduled and SAI is in regular touch with officials of MEA, who are further pursuing the matter with the Indian Embassy in Paris. The required authorisation letter by the French interior ministry is expected soon,” it added.
However, an Athletics Federation of India source said that he will be leaving on Thursday.
“He is still here and will go on Thursday,” the source told PTI.
The reigning Commonwealth and Asian Games champion will first travel to France for a training stint and then reach Sweden.
He will be accompanied by biomechanics expert Dr Klaus Bartonietz and physiotherapist Isaan Marwaha during the tour.
The 2018 Jakarta Asian Games champion had said last week that he has got a visa to travel to France. “Granted visa to travel to France. I am very happy that I am getting a chance to compete in international competitions before #Tokyo2020,” he had tweeted.
Chopra, who has broken his own national record with a throw of 88.07m in Patiala in the Indian GP 3 in March, is expected to participate in some top class events in Sweden and other parts of Europe before the Tokyo Olympics.
He had qualified for the Olympics with a throw of 87.86m, which bettered the qualifying mark of 85m, at the South African domestic tournament in Potchefstroom in January last year.
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