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July 24, 2017

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Taiwan officials reject Indian accusations on Jones Cup flap

NEW DELHI--Two players from India's national basketball team have missed early games in the Jones Cup being held in Taipei because of a mistake by a travel agency and not because of a deliberate act, Taiwan's representative to India said Tuesday.

Tien Chung-kwang said the travel agency used by India's national basketball team to arrange the trip used the wrong pictures of two players in their visa applications, leading to the problems.

But Basketball Federation of India (BFI) Secretary-General Shri Chander Mukhi Sharma told the Times of India that the two players who had visa problems are important team members and suggested that the visa snafu was probably a deliberate act to weaken his team.

He said that he will collect related documents and file a complaint with the International Basketball Federation.

Tien said he could not accept such a statement and hoped that the BFI secretary-general would check the facts with Taiwan's representative office.

The envoy insisted that the travel agency made the mistake, and the BFI and the travel agency failed to inform the office in time, Tien said.

According to the diplomat, the travel agency sent information on all of the players headed to Taiwan to his office on July 20 to process visas, and their visas were issued the following day.

But the travel agency realized afterwards that it had switched the photos of Singh and Philip on their original applications, and quickly sent revised files for the two players to the office just before it closed on July 22, Tien said.

The new visas could not be processed in time to allow the players to catch a flight to Taiwan that night, leading them to miss India's opening game in the Jones Cup on July 23.

Tien said the travel agency did not inform the office that the two players were set to play games starting on July 23, so consular personnel issued the visas on July 25 in line with normal procedures.

If the BFI or the travel agency had informed the office about the matter, it would have expedited the matter, he said, and expressed his regrets.

Without the two players, India has lost its first three games in the tournament to the United States (62-60), Japan (89-70) and Taiwan (76-70).

The two players arrived in Taipei Tuesday and rushed to join their team against South Korea. India lost 97-55.

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