Livid over the US Embassy's decision, the Archery Association of India treasurer (AAI) decided to withdraw from the event in Yankton, South Dakota as a mark of protest. Apart from the archers, India's well-travelled Korean coach Chae Wom Lim was also refused visa by US embassy here.

"We have decided to withdraw the team from this tournament as a mark of protest. This was decided by AAI President Vijay Kumar Malhotra even though we had reapplied for visas," AAI treasurer Virender Sachdeva told reporters. The Indian contingent, comprising Under-20 boys and girls, was scheduled to leave for US today for the June 8-14 event.

But the US Embassy here granted visa to only seven archers, two coaches and a Sports Authority of India official while rejecting 21, thereby putting serious doubts over India's participation in the event. Besides Lim, three Indian coaches Mim Bahadur Gurung, Chandra Shekhar Laguri, Ram Awdesh and masseuse Pinki were also denied visa.

Sachdeva said the denial was on the ground that the visa officer was not satisfied with the interview of the rejected individuals and doubted that they may not return after the completion of the event.

"It is really a shocking incident. Most of the archers are from lower strata and hail from states like Assam, Jharkhand, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. Most of them are not well versed in English and hence lack in communication. When the visa officer asked them what they do for living, they simply said we are archers and play archery," Sachdeva added.

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