1975 hockey WC winner Diwan seeks government help to return home from US


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The hockey Olympian was to return on April 20 but the sudden spike in Covid19 cases sent everything haywire

File photo of Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju honouring Ashok Diwan. Twitter Photo

New Delhi: Stranded in the USA due to travel restrictions, hockey Olympian and member of the 1975 World Cup winning team, Ashok Diwan desperately needs government help to get back to India.

His deteriorating health adding to the trauma, the 65-year-old Diwan has made a distress call to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra, requesting him to take his plea to the higher authorities.

"I need your help as I am stuck in USA and have developed some health issues. I had to go to hospital in emergency last week in California. I do not have insurance here. The medical costs are very high here," Diwan wrote to Batra, who also heads International Hockey Federation (FIH).

"Originally, I was supposed to fly back on 20th April by Air India but due to the ongoing epidemic situation my travel dates have been pushed back.

"I request you to forward this message to Honourable Sports Minister and External Affairs Minister for helping me with a hospital for my check-up or for earlier departure from San Francisco to India," he added.

The hero of 1975 World Cup-winning team also promised to pay all the bills after returning back to India.

"Kindly, treat this as urgent as I am really in bad health here," he said.

Diwan, a member of the 1976 Olympic team, travelled to Sacremento in December last year to spend time with his son, a bachelor. But the spike in Covid19 pandemic across the globe led to strict travel restrictions.

"In the absence of medical insurance, he had to pay $700 for emergency ch. so eck-up. You can imagine how costly medical treatment in the US is. He is now anxious and is desperate to comeback home at the earliest," his daughter Arushi said.

The anxiety and helplessness was writ large on the faces of Diwan's wife Sunita and daughter Arushi.

"We are feeling really helpless. My brother is alone with Papa there but the situation is critical in US, far worse than in India. So, we decided to approach Batra (Narinder Batra) uncle. Hope, the government will step in and help us," Arushi said.