India to miss Archery World Cup due to flight delay


India's archers will not be travelling for the World Cup in Medellin, Colombia starting April 23. The reason: A delayed flight.

The 23-member contingent, including Deepika Kumari, Atanu Das and Bombayla Devi, was to travel to Bogota via Amsterdam on the early hours of Saturday. However, upon arriving at the airport, they were informed by the airline of a delay of almost three hours before boarding the 3:35 AM flight from New Delhi (Royal Dutch Airlines KLM KL 0872), meaning they would have missed their connecting flight (KLM KL 749) as well. The Archery Association of India (AAI) then promptly called off the entire trip.

PTI reported there was delay in obtaining sanction for the trip from the Sports Authority of India (SAI) as the flight booking was done late and close to the event schedule.

This has cost the archers an opportunity to test themselves out at a 200-plus field drawn from 36 countries in the run-up to the World Championships in June. The all-important latter tournament will offer eight teams in both men's and women's recurve qualifying spots at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

While an AAI office bearer confirmed the cancellation of the trip to ESPN, he declined to make any further comment. Both AAI president BVP Rao and secretary Maha Singh were also unavailable for a reaction.

According to the WhatsApp Customer Care of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the delay was caused due to "operation issues". The Indian team had no alternate plans, forcing them to skip the event. "There was no alternate flights available for such a big contingent. We tried different options but it was not possible to reach before Monday. Now we have to return to our camp in Pune," women's coach Purnima Mahato told PTI.