New Delhi: The national shooting federation of South Korea, one of the global hotbeds of the deadly novel coronavirus, has asked its Indian counterpart to make its position clear on whether athletes from the East Asian country would be allowed at next month's ISSF World Cup.
In a letter to National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) President Raninder Singh, Korea Shooting Federation Secretary General Yongjae Lee has said that shooters are keen to participate in the event from 15 to 26 March.
"Currently, most of the Korean athletes are wishing to acquire Minimum Qualification Standard at the ISSF World Cup -- New Delhi. However, there is a great deal of concern and worries among athletes and officials that they might not be able to participate," Lee said.
"Kindly state your position regarding COVID-19," he added.
Lee said the tickets for the athletes and officials have already been booked and their visa fees have also been paid.
The letter was prompted by a 26 February directive from the Indian Embassy there in which it was stated that people coming to India from Korea, Iran and Italy –all severely affected by the virus –after 10 February "may be quarantined for 14 days on arrival."
South Korea has more than 1700 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 13 people have so far died of the disease.
Meanwhile, Bahrain has become the latest country to pull out of the World Cup. China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, North Korea and Turkmenistan have already pulled out of the tournament due to the virus.
While the NRAI has not yet made its position clear officially, a source told PTI that the shooting body is "in touch with the external affairs ministry and the ISSF" on how to go about it.
"The NRAI can't give directions. This (coronavirus) is a situation that is developing very fast. Now Bahrain has also withdrawn from the World Cup and there are also doubts over Iran's participation as flights service from Iran has been stopped for now. That's what we hear. It's very difficult to give definitive conclusion so quickly given the situation," the source said.
"South Korea has learnt from the Indian embassy there that their shooters will have to be in quarantined for two weeks before the tournament starts. Now, with all their flight tickets booked and other logistics taken care of, that is probably not an option for South Korea," the sources added.
Earlier this month, the Indian government refused to grant visas to Chinese grapplers for the Asian Wrestling Championship held here due to the disease which originated from Wuhan and has killed more than 2600 and infected over 80,000 people all over the world.
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Updated Date: Feb 27, 2020 23:26:52 IST