Arunachal Pradesh, September 23, 2023 – In a disappointing turn of events, three martial art (wushu) athletes hailing from Arunachal Pradesh have been barred from participating in the upcoming Asian Games due to a lack of clearance from the host country, China. This unsettling development comes on the heels of their recent exclusion from the World University Games in Chengdu just two months ago.
The athletes in question, identified as Onilu Tega, Mepung Lamgu, and Nyeman Wangu, found themselves sidelined once again, igniting a wave of concern and condemnation.
A high-level intervention was sought to address this matter of utmost importance. Arunachal Pradesh’s Chief Minister, Pemu Khandu, engaged in discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, resulting in a resolute stance being adopted. Prime Minister Modi has instructed the Sports Minister to cancel a proposed visit to China in light of this issue.
India’s External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, delivered a stern response to China’s actions, asserting, “In line with our longstanding and consistent position, India firmly rejects differential treatment of Indian citizens on the basis of domicile or ethnicity. Arunachal Pradesh was, is, and will always remain an integral and inalienable part of India. A strong protest has been lodged in New Delhi and Beijing against China’s deliberate and selective obstruction of some of our sportspersons. China’s action violates both the spirit of the Asian Games and the rules governing their conduct, which explicitly prohibits discrimination against competitors from member states.”
China, in response, through its Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Mao Ning, defended its position, stating that it welcomes athletes from all countries with proper legal documentation to participate in the Asian Games hosted in Hangzhou. However, China continues to dispute the status of Arunachal Pradesh, considering it as part of its territory, specifically Zangan, which is situated in the southern part of southwest China’s Zizang Autonomous Region.
Nevertheless, the Arunachal Olympic Association (AOA) has taken a proactive step by reaching out to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to seek the intervention of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in this matter. Notably, the IOA had previously confirmed that the three wushu players from Arunachal Pradesh had obtained accreditation from the Hangzhou Asian Games organizers.
This incident has generated significant concern in the international sports community, raising questions about the fair and inclusive nature of global sporting events and highlighting the ongoing tensions between India and China over territorial disputes.
[Source: Information sourced from ‘The Arunachal Times’]