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Athletics: Javelin thrower Chopra’s departure for France delayed

Sports Lounge Staff

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Neeraj Chopra

New Delhi: Olympic Games bound javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra’s European training-cum-competition stint has been rescheduled as the French interior ministry is yet to issue authorisation letter to him to travel, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) said on Wednesday.

As per the original plan, Chopra and his coaching staff were to leave India on Tuesday night.

“Chopra travel plans to France have been delayed by a few days as India is currently placed as a high-risk country with Covid-19 infection. A person traveling to France requires an internal letter issued by French interior ministry, which is yet to come,” an SAI statement said.

Last week, Chopra, 23, foreign coach Klaus Bartonietz and physio Issan Marwaha got visas to travel to France. Chopra and his coaching staff were supposed to have their base in Lievin, in northern France, for a fortnight and undergo 10 days’ quarantine period mandatory for Indians.

“SAI is in regular touch with officials of MEA [ministry of external affairs] who are further pursuing the matter with the Indian Embassy in Paris. The required authorisation letter by the French interior ministry is expected soon,” SAI said.

In March, Chopra improved his national record to 88.07 meters during a domestic meet in Patiala.

In January last year, the national champion with a throw of 87.86m bettered the Tokyo Olympic Games qualifying mark of 85m at the South African domestic tournament in Potchefstroom, South Africa.

Since then Chopra hasn’t taken part in any international competition due to the Covid pandemic.

The Olympics are scheduled to begin on July 23.

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