India's alpine skier Himanshu Thakur will have a final shot at the Winter Olympics qualification, courtesy timely intervention by the External Affairs Ministry which facilitated his Iranian visa on the 11th hour.
Himanshu, who was not allowed to board the flight from Frankfurt to Tehran on Sunday, got the required visa clearance from the Iranian Embassy in New Delhi on Monday.
He missed out on the opening day of the competition at Darbandsar Ski Resort in Iran but has the opportunity to make the Winter Olympics cut on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The 24-year-old, who finished 72nd in the giant slalom at the Sochi Winter Olympics four years ago, needs a score of 140 points or below in five races to qualify for the Winter Games in Pyeongchang from February 9 to 29.
Himanshu has got the required score in four races but needs to record 140 or less in one more race before the January 21 cut-off date.
He is brother of Aanchal Thakur, who recently won India's first international medal in skiing. Aanchal, however, is already out of the Olympic race.
Himanshu's father,Roshan Thakur thanked External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Himachal Pradesh Sports Minister Govind Singh Thakur and BJP MP from Himachal Anurag Thakur, for helping his son get the visa at such a short notice.
"He missed out on competition today but he has two more days. He has been travelling constantly over the past one week from one competition to another. Hopefully, he is not exhausted," said Roshan, who is also the secretary at the Winter Games Federation of India.
Image: Himanshu Thakur
Photographer: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters