It is about the Argentine sub 16 team that traveled to play the Davis Cup and the BJK Cup, and now they cannot return to the country. Know the reasons.
The global coronavirus pandemic continues to plague the world, and health standards fluctuate not just from country to country. These fluctuations are living it in their own flesh the Argentine U16 tennis team, which traveled to Turkey in September to represent the country in the Davis Cup (men) and the BJK Cup (women), but who could not board the plane back due to a sanitary rule for minors old. They have been stranded for more than a week.
What all seemed like pure joy and sports growth, as they were defending the colors of their country in a global competition, ended with pure uncertainty and bureaucracy.
Last October 3, the men’s team managed to reach the semifinals of said contest and the women managed to position themselves among the 15 most preponderant tennis players throughout the planet. Once the respective tournaments were over, the boys and the Technical Corps packed their bags and headed for the Antalya airport, with the idea of returning to Buenos Aires.
There, and while they were waiting to board the flight that would bring them back, with two previous stopovers in Frankfurt and Madrid, Géronimo Degreef, captain of the team, received the bucket of cold water, when he approached the airline counter SunExpress and they informed him that by arbitrary regulations “The minors without a complete vaccination plan could not make two stops in Europe.”
At that moment, Degreef contacted the Argentine Tennis Association, which immediately began negotiations so that they can return to Argentina, and stop being stranded minor athletes. It should be noted that the body in charge of buying tickets, as well as the itinerary, is the International Federation (ITF).
It should be noted that the ITF organizes the world championships and takes care of the expenses, and each Federation gives the possibility of arming each team the trip, round trip, or that each one does it and make them a refund. For its part, the AAT decided that the world governing body would take over and communicate all the requirements to be fulfilled. Nevertheless, “In none of these points is there that clause. He did not speak of a requirement for vaccination, less while in transit, and only asked for a negative PCR “, they explain from the Association. In fact, in their attempt to unblock the situation, ITF staff went in search of “that regulation that was included in the global protocols of the European Community or individual of each country, but nothing appeared ”. However, it was later commented that that rule was unique to the airline in question, and nothing could be done about it.
That is why, and under this context, they began to look for possible alternatives to unblock the matter, but “The offer of tickets is not much to reach Argentina and the little that appeared it was extremely expensive ”, They explained from the Association, and then added: “The parents were aware of everything, from the first moment and did not doubt that the whole group would be content and with the expenses paid.”
For his part, Captain Degreef is training the boys and girls daily so that they do not lose the rhythm of competition, also to prevent the situation from reaching them and he came up with an idea: He scored them in a professional tournament held in Atalya for a $ 15,000 prize pool, and the youngsters made their professional debut.
After being stranded for a week, a drinkable alternative came to light: “It will be done via Spain, but with stops in Istanbul and Madrid”, commented Marianao Zabaleta, (vice president) and added: “For the AAT, the well-being of the group, especially with minors, was a priority and we tried to find the solution, so we did not skimp on expenses. This delay in the return and the new tickets caused the Association to spend approximately 20 thousand dollars, something that for an entity that obtains most of its income from Davis Cup, a tournament that was suspended for more than a year, it is a very big hole in their finances ”, Zabalate developed when explaining that the solution was to buy air tickets from another airline.
The AAT has everything prepared so that the Argentine team can return, but they will still have to endure a long previous stopover in Spain before taking the last of the three flights that are planned to bring them back to their native country.
BODY PHOTO: BATennis
The Argentine sub 16 team:
- Gonzalo Zeitune (16 years old)
- Maria Victoria Burstein (16)
- Captains AAT: Gerónimo Degreef and Romina Ottoboni
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