In the past few weeks, Indian badminton has been in the news for two reasons: the rise of male shuttlers as Kidambi Srikanth won the Indonesian and Australian Super Series titles alongside B Sai Praneeth winning the Singapore Super Series and the visa woes faced by the shuttlers. And after some timely intervention by the Ministry of External Affairs and Badminton Association of India (BAI), the luck for the players has run out amid administrative delays. The casualty to this cause is Sameer Verma who will be unable to participate in the Canada Open Grand Prix after failing to acquire visa in time. He was the third seed for the tournament that begins on July 11 and concludes on July 16.
He expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that players have to undergo the visa application process but admitted that there is nothing that he could do about it. The 33rd ranked Sameer will now compete at the United States Open Grad Prix Gold. “Hello everyone , not the best of news as I have to withdraw from the Canada Open GP as I couldn’t get my visa in time , really disappointed as I was really looking forward to play at Calgary , as international athletes I think we shouldn’t be facing visa issues but again it is not something which I could do about it , will be playing the US Open GPG next week , looking forward to another week of training before I leave,” he wrote on Facebook.
This past week, another singles player Parupalli Kashyap had asked for external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s help as he along with HS Prannoy and N Sikki Reddy had applied for New Zealand visa a week back but had failed to get their passports back which would have affected their participation in Canada and the US. “As we have to leave for tournaments on July 6 to Canada and US Opens, we require passports immediately,” he said requesting immediate help.
“The invitation from organisers comes a month before. We were unable to submit our passport as we are in another country playing in another tourney a different country,” he added. The players were in Sydney at the time for the Australian Open Super Series.