Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has assured all possible help to hockey Olympian and member of the 1975 World Cup winning team, Ashok Diwan, who is currently stranded in the U.S. due to travel restrictions in place amid global COVID-19 pandemic.
Rijiju’s office on Thursday evening said the Indian Embassy in San Francisco has been contacted and they are sending a doctor to attend Diwan who is currently dealing with health issues.
“Hockey Olympian Ashok Diwan is stranded in the U.S. and is unwell. He reached out to Kiren Rijiju through IOA. The Indian Embassy in San Francisco has been contacted, they’re sending a doctor to attend to Mr. Diwan to ensure he receives immediate medical attention.”
Diwan, who represented India at the 1976 Summer Olympics, had written a letter to Narinder Batra, President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), asking him for help.
In his letter, the 65-year-old stated that he is suffering from high blood pressure among other diseases and he had to attend hospital in emergency last week in California.
Diwan said that he was supposed to fly back to India on April 20, but due to the ongoing situation his travel dates have been pushed.
“I am not feeling well these days, moreover I don’t have any insurance here. As you know the medical costs are very high here,” he wrote.
“I request a favour to forward this message to the Sports Minister and the External Minister for helping me here by instructing Indian Embassy at San Francisco to help me with a hospital for my check-up or if they can arrange earlier departure from San Francisco to India.”
“Sir, kindly treat this urgent as I am really in bad health here,” Diwan, who was one of the first three Dhyan Chand awardees, added.
He also promised to pay all the bills after returning to India.
India is currently under a 21-day nationwide lockdown which will end on April 14 due to coronavirus outbreak which has claimed around 200 lives in the country thus far. Till then, there’s also a travel ban in the country, both within and outside.
The Indian government has also made it clear that any decision to allow foreign flights to operate to India can be taken only once the current lockdown period ends on April 14 midnight.