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Visa formalities for India's athletics coach set to proceed: sources

Representational Image (Getty images)

Representational Image (Getty images)

The uncertainty over the appointment of dope-tainted Ukrainian coach Yuri Ogorodnik is likely to be over as the Sports Ministry is set to proceed towards procuring his visa for his arrival in the country.

New Delhi: The uncertainty over the appointment of dope-tainted Ukrainian coach Yuri Ogorodnik is likely to be over as the Sports Ministry is set to proceed towards procuring his visa for his arrival in the country, according to a top Athletics Federation of India official.

AFI President Adille Sumariwalla said that the Sports Ministry has asked the federation to give an undertaking that Ogorodnik has not been involved in any doping issue anywhere under the WADA Code so that it can start the process of procuring his visa and booking his flight ticket.

"I had a meeting with sports ministry officials yesterday (Wednesday) and they have sought one last undertaking from AFI that Yuri has not been involved in any dope issue anywhere under the WADA Code," Sumariwalla said in an informal interaction.

"I am going to reply today (Thursday) that the AFI does not need to give the undertaking in that regard. Anybody can go into the WADA website and find it out. WADA has a database of coaches who has been involved in doping cases," he added.

Asked about the status of Ogorodnik's appointment, he said, "Once we write about this last undertaking the Sports Ministry wants from us, the next is sending of his visa and booking his flight tickets. We will wait for the sports ministry to do that.

"I don't know how many undertakings we have given to the ministry since we got 'in principle' approval from the sports secretary in the early part of January," he added.

Sumariwalla defended the persistence on the part of AFI to bring Ogorodnik back to India after he was sacked in 2011 in the wake the worst doping scandal in Indian athletics.

"Yuri has not be implicated for any involvement in the 2011 doping case. The athletes were traumatised and I can tell you Ashwini Akkunji might be on the verge of committing suicide during that time. But these athletes have said in their affidavits that the banned substances were not given to them by Yuri but they themselves bought them," he said.

Himself a 100m sprint Olympian, Sumariwalla expressed disappointment that the training of the athletes has been affected by the sports ministry taking a long time to the appointment of Ogorodnik.

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