After a month of delay, Bajrang Punia finally received his UK visa for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) said on Saturday.
This will now allow Punia to leave for the US for a brief training stint. Since he will go for the CWG directly from his training base in the United States, it would have been difficult for Bajrang to complete the UK visa formalities later. Now that he has got his UK visa, Bajrang can train in the US without any anxiety.
The 28-year-old Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist was supposed to travel to the Michigan University in the US last month for training ahead of the Birmingham CWG but was forced to stay back in India due to a delay in getting his UK visa.
"The Sports Ministry, through the Ministry of External Affairs, got in touch with the British High Commission to seek the UK Visa for Bajrang, which has now been obtained," a SAI media release said.
On several occasions, the MEA has helped the Sports Ministry in obtaining a visa for athletes travelling abroad for competition and training ahead of the CWG.
Bajrang, who won gold in the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and fellow wrestler Deepak Punia will now leave for the US this weekend from India. They will train at Michigan University until July 30, following which both will leave for Birmingham.
The Sports Ministry's Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) has facilitated the exposure trip. The training stint in the USA will be helpful for the preparation of the CWG and other upcoming major competitions like the Wrestling World Championship, scheduled in September in Belgrade.
A total of 111 foreign exposures in various sports have been funded by the Sports Ministry after Tokyo Olympics in the lead-up to CWG. The Commonwealth Games are scheduled to be held in Birmingham from July 28 to August 8.