Wushu athlete Mepung Lamgu has provided an update on himself on Saturday after media reports claimed he had “gone incommunicado” leaving his family worried.
Lamgu was one of the three Arunachal Pradesh athletes who were denied accreditation cards and were instead offered stapled visas by China, who are the hosts of the Hangzhou Asian Games.
“I am alright and currently in SAI Hostel. I am in constant touch with my family and there’s nothing to worry about. Thanks for the concern and support,” Lamgu posted on social media website X, formerly known as Twitter.
Lamgu also posted a photograph of himself having breakfast with SAI officers to allay any concerns.
The Sports Authority of India also tweeted: “We stand with the three Asian Games-bound wushu athletes, taking the utmost care for them at this hour. The three athletes are being taken care of at the SAI Hostel.”
Besides Lamgu, Nyeman Wangsu and Onulu Tega were also prevented from flying to China. The trio was scheduled to take part in the Opening Ceremony on Saturday evening with their events scheduled for Sunday.
The incident has sparked a diplomatic row. On Friday, Minister of Information and Broadcasting and Youth Affairs and Sports of India Anurag Thakur called off his trip to China.
The Ministry of External Affairs also issued a strongly-worded statement, alleging the the Chinese authorities had “discriminated” in a “targeted and premeditated manner”. MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi added: “A strong protest has been lodged in New Delhi and Beijing against China’s deliberate and selective obstruction of some of our sportspersons. The Government of India reserves the right to take suitable measures to safeguard our interests,” it stated.”
Meanwhile, Wei Jizhong, former secretary general of the Chinese Olympic Committee who is currently serving as a lifetime Vice-President in the Olympic Council of Asia, defended China’s actions, saying that the host country has not violated any rules.
“I should clarify that these Indian athletes got a visa to enter China. China didn’t refuse any visa but the problem is, according to the Chinese government regulations, we have the right to give them a different kind of visa. We have an arrival visa, paper visa, and visa in passport. This is the host country’s government regulation,” Jizhong said at a media briefing.