IOC director of NOC relations and Olympic Solidarity James Macleod suggests disapproval over China's decision in a visa saga ©IOC

International Olympic Committee (IOC) director of National Olympic Committee relations and Olympic Solidarity James Macleod has suggested that the organisation opposes a Chinese Government decision that has led to the absence of three Indian athletes from Hangzhou 2022.

Nyeman Wangsu, Onilu Tega and Mepung Lamgu, from disputed territory Arunachal Pradesh, were only offered "stapled visas" to enter China for this year's Asian Games and have been left behind as a result.

The visa is temporarily attached to a passport but is not accepted as a legitimate travel document by India.

It is seen as a tactic employed by China to undermine India's sovereignty of the state, which the latter claims approximately 90,000 square kilometres of the region.

China refers to it as Zangan and included it on its most recent standard map.

"Our principle, and this is a principle that doesn't only apply now at the Asian Games but it applies every day, everywhere, across the world, is that all athletes should have a free and unfettered access to sports competitions regardless of their nationality and regardless of the passport that they hold," Macleod said, as reported by Boria Majumdar of RevSportz.

Three Indian wushu athletes were unable to enter China for the Asian Games due to being offered visas that are not accepted in their home country ©Getty Images
Three Indian wushu athletes were unable to enter China for the Asian Games due to being offered visas that are not accepted in their home country ©Getty Images

"That is a principle that we as the IOC continuously uphold and we will talk to all different parties within the Olympic Movement but also Governments to ensure that that principle is upheld.

"In this case we are aware of the situation. 

"It is a matter for the Olympic Council of Asia [OCA], and we know that there are discussions between the OCA and the hosts of the Asian Games to hopefully try and resolve this situation."

It has not been resolved though as the Government did not change its stance and the wushu competitions at Hangzhou 2022 ended on Thursday (September 28).

Shortly after they were unable to board their flight from New Delhi, the trio spoke out about their sadness upon missing the Games before fears for Lamgu's wellbeing flamed.

According to her brother, she was crying inconsolably after the denial of a suitable visa and had become uncontactable and not answering any messages.

But she allayed any worry after posting on a newly-formed account to say she was well.

"I am alright and currently in SAI [Sports Authority of India]," Lamgu wrote.

"I am in constant touch with my family and there's nothing to worry about.

"Thanks for the concern and support."

China and India have disputed over Arunachal Pradesh for years and even come to blows, with 24 soldiers from both sides dying in a skirmish in 2020.

A similar situation occurred at the World University Games earlier this year in China.

India withdrew its eight-athlete wushu team from competition in Chengdu after the Government only offered the stapled visas to the same three athletes.