Hockey veteran Ashok Diwan returns to India after being stranded in the United States due to COVID-19 pandemic
His deteriorating health adding to the trauma, the 65-year-old Diwan had made a distress call to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra last month, requesting him to take his plea to the higher authorities
India's World Cup-winning hockey goalkeeper Ashok Diwan, who was stuck in the United States due to the travel ban imposed for containing the spread of coronavirus pandemic, returned to the country on Friday.
His deteriorating health adding to the trauma, the 65-year-old Diwan had made a distress call to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra last month, requesting him to take his plea to the higher authorities.
The Sports Ministry had forwarded his request to the Ministry of External Affairs.
"I returned to Delhi this morning and right now I am undergoing the 14-day mandatory quarantine period at a hotel in Dwarka. Healthwise I had a few tough days and it feels great to return to my own country," Diwan told PTI.
The spike in COVID-19 pandemic cases across the globe has forced the countries to enforce lockdown in their territories.
"During this time of distress, senior players, colleagues, hockey lovers and friends kept me motivated. I am now doing okay health-wise and improving," Diwan said.
The 1975 World Cup-winning former player thanked Batra, Spots Minister Kiren Rijiju and the Indian mission in the US for their help and co-operation during the difficult times.
"I am indebted to Mr Batra, Hon'ble Sports Minister, the External Affairs Minister Indian Ambassador in US Taranjit Sandhu and Indian embassy officials and the media for all the help and support," Diwan said.
"The love and support I got from my countrymen kept me going in the foreign land."
Diwan, a member of the 1976 Olympic team, travelled to Sacramento in December 12 last year to spend time with his son, who works there.
He was scheduled to head back to India on April 20 but could not due to the travel restrictions.
The six other India players are Savita Punia, Sharmila Devi, Rajani, Navjot Kaur, Navneet Kaur and Sushila while the two support staff are video analyst Amrutaprakash and scientific advisor Wayne Lombard.
Kaushik, a member of the 1980 Moscow Olympics gold-medal winning Indian team, had tested positive for COVID-19 on 17 April and was admitted to a nursing home in New Delhi.
Tokyo Olympics 2020: Indian men's hockey team forward Lalit Upadhyay says players need to work on converting chances
In the recent Argentina tour, the Indian team scored 12 goals in four practice matches and five goals in two FIH Pro League games against the Olympic champions, but Lalit said there is still room for improvement as nine goals came via penalty corners.