NEW DELHI: After the US Embassy denied visas to 20 young archers out of 32, the Archery Association of India (AAI) was forced to pull out the Indian junior and sub-junior squads from the World Youth Archery Championship scheduled to be held at Yankton, US from Monday.

AAI Secretary General Anil Kamineni was quoted in a media report saying, “The visas were denied on the basis of section 214 (b) of US visa law where the archers failed to satisfy the visa officers that they will return to India after the event.”

The Indian group with Under-20 boys and girls was listed to leave for USA on Saturday but had to call off their plan as the US embassy denied visas not only to them but even their South Korean Coach Chae Wom Lim along with three Indian assistants Mim Bahadur Gurung, Chandra Shekhar Laguri and Ram Awdesh. Masseuse Pinki was as well denied visa with them.

What came as a surprise for the AAI officials was that the visas to these archers were denied in spite of having the tour sanction from the Indian government and a formal invitation by the US Archery Association. 

While these archers again applied for the visas, the US officials demanded more papers to be convinced that all of them would return to their home country. 

“We tried to arrange more supporting documents from the organizers in the US, too. But it was difficult to have all papers in order in time,” Kamineni said.

According to Virender Sachdeva, AAI treasurer, the problem came up due to the miscommunication between the visa officials and archers as most of these young kids came from a poor background and are not too fluent with English. “I believe they could not communicate properly with the officials that raised doubts in the mind of the visa officer that resulted into the refusal of visa these archers,” he said.

Visa rejection is a major setback for these young stars as they practiced hard since last three months for the upcoming event.

They were scheduled to participate in both recurve and compound events which certainly would have been a big experience for all of them to battle with the talent of approximately 600 competitors from 60 countries.

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