If all goes according to plan, Kerala Sports Minister V Abdurahiman will fly to Japan soon to cheer on the state’s athletes at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics at his own expense. He said he would seek permission from the Centre on Tuesday to fly to Japan as the state government’s official delegate for the sports Gala, which will take place from July 23 to August 8.
If the permit is granted, he will be the first minister in the second Pinarayi Vijayan government to travel abroad since assuming power in May of this year. The minister stated that he has previously got an invitation to visit Japan in conjunction with the Olympics from the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
“I will seek the Centre’s nod today (Tuesday) to travel to Japan. If it is granted, I will be the official representative of the state government. But, the final decision of the travel will be taken only after considering the COVID-19 situation also,” Abdurahiman told PTI.
He stated that the purpose of his proposed visit is to provide maximum support and encouragement to the nine athletes from the state who are competing in various categories. When asked about paying for the trip out of his own cash, the minister explained that it was a time when the government was aggressively enforcing austerity measures due to budgetary restrictions and pandemic blues.
“That’s why I have decided to go spending money on my own. Isn’t it good to go and support our sports star while they are participating in such mammoth events?” he added.
P R Sreejesh, Sajan Prakash, M Sreeshankar, KT Irfan, Jabir M P, Muhammed Anas, Amoj Jacob, Nirmal Noah Tom, and Alex Antony are among the nine Keralite athletes who have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics.