The Bangladesh women's team will not be able to take part in the World Team Table Tennis Championships due to 'negligence' of the Bangladesh Table Tennis Federation (BTTF), who failed to obtain visas for the players after allegedly starting the visa procedure late.
Bangladesh, comprised of Sonam Sultana Shoma, Moumita Alam Rumi and Rahima Akter, were supposed to play their first two matches against Norway and Maldives yesterday after leaving the country for Sweden on Saturday.
Wales, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Bosnia and Herzegovina were Bangladesh's other group opponents. The championships got underway in Sweden on Saturday.
Though the BTTF confirmed their participation in the middle of February, the game's governing body started visa procedures just 10 days ahead of their scheduled departure (April 28). However, the Swedish embassy in Dhaka has allegedly refused to provide visas citing a shortage of time.
Though the players alleged that the federation intentionally delayed the procedure to not send the team, BTTF general secretary Khandokar Hasan Munir refuted the allegation.
“The table tennis team had earlier travelled for tournaments to different European nations by getting visas within a short period of time, so this time too we initiated visa processing 10 days before our scheduled departure,” Munir said. “In line with the embassy's recommendation, we appeared before the embassy in Dhaka on April 25 with note verbal from foreign affairs ministry but they refused to provide visas saying we are already late.”