Pak jujitsukas’ participation in The World Games 2022 in limbo due to US visa backlog

ISLAMABAD, Jun 16 (APP): With the 11th edition of The World Games just a month away, Pakistan Ju-jitsu Federation (PJJF) is uncertain whether or not its athletes will be able to feature in the prestigious event as they are facing visa delay due to the corona backlog.

Pakistan’s highly talented jujitsukas Dilawar Khan Sannan and Isra Waseem are scheduled to feature in The World Games, to be held in Birmingham, Alabama, United States from July 7 to 17.

The games, originally planned for 2021, were postponed to 2022 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Dilawar and Isra’s participation in the duo mixed category of the ju-jitsu discipline at the games was confirmed by the organizers in the last week of March and we had timely moved our visa applications to the US Consulate in Karachi.

“But due to the corona backlog, we have been given the appointment for visa interviews after the conclusion of the event, which will not be of use,” Tariq Ali, Associate Secretary of the PJJF told APP on Thursday.

Tariq, who is also set to accompany the athletes as manager-cum-coach, said the ju-jitsu event of the games would commence on July 12 but they wanted to fly to the US a week prior to the competition to get acclimatized with the conditions.

“We’ve received an NOC (no objection certificate) from the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and fulfilled all other necessary requirements to participate in the event,” he added.

According to Tariq, the two athletes earned the place in The World Games after years of hard work and featuring in a number of international events, which had served as qualifiers.

“Qualifying for The World Games is not an easy task. Our duo made a cut to the event on continental quota after putting up impressive shows in different events, including world rankings, continental championships, and world championships.

“We were feeling honoured and motivated after knowing about our qualification in The World Games. It will also be a huge disappointment for the young athletes if they miss the event as they have been going through hard training to make a podium finish and bring laurels for the country,” he added.

From Asia, only Pakistan and Thailand have been able to book the berths in the prestigious games. Other countries vying for top honours in the duo mixed category include Germany, Belgium, Montenegro and Romania.

Pakistani ju-jitsu athletes had also qualified for The World Games 2017 in Poland. Then they were the only ones to represent the country at the quadrennial extravaganza. In that edition of the games, national ju-jitsu athletes Ammar and Abu Huraira represented the country. They fought well but remained unable to get over the line to win the medal.

Around 3,600 athletes from 34 sport disciplines and over 100 countries will be competing for 223 medals in The World Games.

The games celebrated their premiere in 1981 in Santa Clara, California, and now, a little more than 40 years later, return to the US.