New Delhi [India], June 2 (ANI): Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra's travel plan to France has been delayed by a few days as India is currently placed as a high-risk country with COVID-19 infection, informed the Sports Authority of India (SAI) on Wednesday.
"As a result of being placed as a high-risk country with COVID-19 infection, a person travelling to France requires an internal authorisation letter (Laissez-passer) issued by French Interior Ministry to travel," the SAI said in an official statement.
"Even though Neeraj and his team got their visa on Friday, he is yet to get the above-mentioned authorisation letter," it added.
Accordingly, his travel plans have been rescheduled and the SAI is in regular touch with officials of the 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.
On May 30, Neeraj was granted a visa to travel to France to feature in the international competitions ahead of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Earlier this month, Neeraj had expressed disappointment at not getting a chance to compete in international tournaments ahead of the Tokyo Games.
The COVID-19 related travel restrictions had made it hard for him to participate in international competitions.
"Granted visa to travel to France. I am very happy that I am getting a chance to compete in international competitions before #Tokyo2020. I'm thankful to @PMOIndia @DrSJaishankar @KirenRijiju @IndiaSports @Media_SAI @afiindia for making this happen," Neeraj had tweeted.
Neeraj is aware he will face tough competition in Tokyo but is prepared for that. "The current group of Javelin Throwers in the world is the best. Each of them are throwing above 87 or 88m. I feel my consistency is fine so far. I've been throwing above 85m," Neeraj had said in a media conference facilitated by the Sports Authority of India earlier this month.
"I feel my training has brought me closer to throwing 90m. My preparations are getting better to get close to the 90m mark but of course, it will depend on what happens on the D-Day in Tokyo," he had added.
He was inducted into the Target Olympic Podium Scheme in November 2018 and has received a total of Rs 31.42 lakh so far towards Sports Science equipment, sports gear, out-of-pocket allowance, etc.Besides, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has sanctioned an ACTC budget of 32.53 crore to the Athletics Federation of India during 2020-21. (ANI)