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Exclusive: Anil Mehta details the Visa issues of Indian fighters in Thailand

Renjith Ravindran
21 October 2019

Thailand is one of the best options for Indian fighters when it comes to combat sports training. There are plenty of gyms in Thailand which offer World Class training and over the years, it has been really helpful for Indian fighters to develop their skills.

However, things have not been going so well lately.

Indians have been blacklisted by some immigration offices in Thailand which has in turn resulted in a major struggle for fighters who wish to train in Thailand.

One of the recent victims of the issue was MMA fighter Sony Krishna. Sony was scheduled to fight in Thailand Fighting Championship but due to visa issues, he had to return. While the decision from Thailand Authorities might’ve made sense on legal grounds, he noted that he suffered some harsh treatment from them.

In a statement given to LockerRoom, Sony said that he was kept in an enclosed room with unclean toilet facilities. The Kerala based fighter also revealed that he was not able to eat any food until he returned to Singapore where he was scheduled to take his return flight.

Anil Mehta, who is one of India’s top Muay-Thai talents, is also a victim of the on-going issue for Indians in Thailand. Anil was offered an Education Visa by one of the gyms in Thailand but the application was rejected by the authorities without any proper explanation.

“The situation is very bad for Indians in Thailand for visas, especially for Combat Athletes!  So right now, Indian athletes go on a tourist visa for training in Thailand and another option is not available.  Some gyms get an education visa for Muay-Thai and MMA training. Phuket has some gyms that provide Education Visa for Muay Thai but Indians have been blacklisted for Education Visa by Phuket Immigration.  Which is clearly written on the notice board of Phuket immigration,” Anil said.

The case with Tourist visa is also problematic. Most fighters now use Tourist Visas to train but extending the visa is really a big headache for Indians.

“A tourist visa is granted by Thailand for 60 days and extension is only for seven days while for other foreigners a tourist visa is granted for 90 days.  And other foreigners, whether it is from America, Europe or Australia and Middle East, Asian Country,  if their tourist visa is expiring, then they can exit Thailand, they can go Malaysia, Laos Cambodia etc. and apply again for 90 days. But we Indians have been blacklisted there and we have to apply for visa only after coming back to India, which is processed in 7-10 days and is also very expensive. If you want to be a good Muay Thai fighter, you need a train in Thailand for at least 5-6 months.  But we cannot do this because of the visa issue.  Therefore we are backward in Muay-Thai. Also, there is no big infrastructure for Muay-Thai in India or any special opportunities for fighters,” Anil continued.

And sadly, it is hard to get help from the Indian authorities as well. But at the same time, it is the Indian Government that holds the key to solve this issue.

“When I was in Chiang Mai, I had met Indian counsellor many times for my visa extension but I have never received any help from them. It is also a question of the reputation of every citizen of India, as we have been blacklisted in many parts of Thailand where we do not get visas easily and are discriminated against like other foreigners.  So I want to say through you: the Government of India that the Sports Minister of the Government of India, the Foreign Minister of the Government of India, the Government of Thailand to make a diplomatic policy so that Indian players can get rid of the challenges faced by Indian Fighters due to visa,” he concluded.

 What do you think of the whole ordeal? Let us know in the comments below.

ALSO WATCH: From being a cop to being one of India's top Muay-Thai Fighters - Interview with Anil Mehta



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