A rising Indian tennis star has been left devastated after Australian officials blocked his entry into the country because he’s too young to get vaccinated.
Aman Dahiya, the world’s 77th ranked junior, has become the latest victim of the country’s border rules after he had his medical exemption request rejected.
The Indian government only made people aged between 15 and 18 eligible for the jab on January 3, which didn’t allow for enough time for the 17-year-old to receive his second dose.
‘I felt hurt after Djokovic was allowed to play and while I was denied entry for the same thing,’ Dahiya told local media.
Aman Dahiya, the world’s 77th ranked junior, has become the latest victim of Australia’s border rules after he had his medical exemption request rejected
The Australian Open kicked off on Tuesday without the tournament’s greatest ever champion after the federal government used special powers to tear up Novak Djokovic’s visa and deport him from the country.
Djokovic and Dahiya were among 26 players who applied for medical exemptions, with Tennis Australia informing the young Indian he did not meet the requirements.
While the Serbian had chosen not to get vaccinated, Dahiya had exhausted all avenues to seek the jab prior to applying for an exemption.
While Novak Djokovic had plenty of time to get vaccinated before the Australian Open, Dahiya was unable to under his country’s laws
His coach Jignesh Rawal confirmed they’d had their visa accepted but was ultimately rejected by the Australian tennis body.
‘We have got the  visa for Aman, but the Australian Open officials have been very firm in sticking to their stipulation,’ Mr Rawal reportedly said.
‘We did explain that under-18 vaccination had not yet started in India. We were also thinking of getting the vaccination done in some other country, but nothing could work.’
The Indian government only made people aged between 15 and 18 eligible for the jab on January 3, which didn’t allow for enough time for the 17-year-old to receive his second dose
The federal Department of Health website says you are only eligible for an exemption if you’re aged under 11.
India’s Sports Ministry said it was unfair there were different rules for the world number one and the teenager.
‘World No 1, Novak gets exemption from two vaccine doses rule and Aman Dahiya is refused entry as he is 17 and does not have vaccine,’ an official said in a statement.
‘The blame has to go to the Australian Open organisers. This type of third world treatment given to India has to stop.’
Source: Daily Mail