Commonwealth Games 2022 : Two national gymnastics coaches barred from entering England?

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BIRMINGHAM, July 28: The visa approval status of two national gymnastics coaches for the 2022 Birmingham commonwealth Games,who are Russian citizens, is now in question.

Without mentioning the names of the coaches involved, Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said that both of them would be affected following the entry restrictions imposed by the United Kingdom (UK) government on Russian citizens due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“The management of the Malaysian contingent has fulfilled all the registration processes as stipulated by the organisers and have even submitted a letter of appeal to the president of the CGF (Commonwealth Sports Federation) to help speed up the approval of their visas.

“However, the response received from the CGF regarding the visa status of the two national gymnastic coaches was that they are also still waiting for the UK Visa and Immigration decision,” he told reporters here, yesterday.

Ahmad Faizal said this after a meeting session with the national rugby seven-a-side, judo and triathlon squads at the Games Village at the University of Warwick, about half an hour’s drive from the city centre, .

He said, according to feedback from the CGF, the ban also involves all Russian citizens who represent other countries at the quadrennial Games .

Therefore, he said if the appeal is not successful, then the Honorary Secretary of the Malaysian Gymnastics Federation Afrita Ariany Nasril and local coach Lim Win Chean will be flown to Birmingham, tomorrow to manage the national gymnastics team throughout the Games.

Ahmad Faizal said that the gymnastics squad consisting of Koi Sie Yan, Ng Joe Ee and Izzah Amzan are also scheduled to arrive tomorrow from Minsk, Belarus, after undergoing intensive training there.

The national gymnastics squad will begin action on August 4 at the Birmingham Arena.

In the meantime, Ahmad Faizal said that he is confident that the cold weather here will not affect the performance of the 104 athletes who will carry the national challenge in the Games which officially opens from 7 pm today (2 am Friday Malaysian time).

Meanwhile, Ahmad Faizal, who attended the 10th Commonwealth Sports Ministers Meeting here yesterday, said Malaysia had stated the initiatives taken by the government in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

He added that among the initiatives were the launch of the Women in Sports Action Plan with an allocation of RM10 million, the organisation of the Para Esports League as well as the preparation of the National Sports Vision 2030 to drive the development of national sports for the next 10 years. -TVS

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