Kolkata: In a major embarrassment for Indian archery, the senior recurve and compound teams could not board the flight to Medellin in Colombia and were forced to pull out of the season-opening stage one of the World Cup beginning on Monday. The 23-member contingent was slated to board Royal Dutch Airlines KLM 872 from Delhi to Amsterdam early Saturday morning but due to “operational issues” the flight was delayed by two hours 53 minutes, that shattered their onward journey plan to Medellin.
According to well-placed sources, there was delay in the sanction for the trip from the Sports Authority of India as the flight booking was done pretty late and close to the event schedule. “Pakistan has opened up airspace but all the west-bound flights are still taking longer. They (ministry) could have planned accordingly and made the bookings well in advance,” the source said on condition of anonymity. The Indian team had no alternate plans except to skip the event.
“There was no alternate flights available for such a big contingent. We tried different options but it was not possible to reach before Monday. Now we have to return to our camp in Pune,” a dejected women’s coach Purnima Mahato told PTI. The miss means Deepika Kumari will not be able to defend her individual title that she had won at the stage one of the World Cup in 2018 which was held in Salt Lake City.