Has denial of visas to Pakistani players jeopardised India's chances of hosting Olympics

Updated: Feb 23, 2019, 09:04 IST | PTI

International Olympic Committee suspends discussions with Indian association over hosting global events after Pakistan shooters' visa problems

Has denial of visas to Pakistani players jeopardised India's chances of hosting Olympics
Egyptian shooters practice ahead of the ISSF World Cup at Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range in New Delhi recently. Pic/AFP

The denial of visas to Pakistani shooters in the Delhi World Cup has jeopardised India's chances of hosting the Olympics or any global event with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspending all such discussions with the country and recommending that no big tournament be awarded to it.

India denied visas to Pakistani shooters for the World Cup that starts today in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, which killed 40 CRPF personnel. As a result, the IOC revoked the two Olympic quotas in the men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol competition.

However, the bigger repercussion was the world body's declaration that it would not engage with India on discussions to host major events. The country aspires to host the 2026 Youth Olympics, the 2032 Summer Olympics and the 2030 Asian Games.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has sent an expression of interest to the IOC for the 2032 Games and the bidding process for the 2026 showpiece is expected to start next year.

'Need guarantees'
The IOC said its stand against the country will remain until clear "written guarantees are obtained from the Indian government to ensure the entry of all participants in such events in full compliance with the rules of the Olympic charter."

"This situation [at the ISSF World Cup] goes against the fundamental principles of the Olympic charter, in particular the principles of non-discrimination," the IOC stated after a meeting of its executive board in Lausanne on Thursday evening. "As a result, the IOC executive board also decided to suspend all discussions with the Indian NOC and government regarding the potential applications for hosting future sports and Olympic-related events in India," it added.

The world body also urged the international federations to neither award nor hold sports events in India until the "guarantees are obtained." The Indian Olympic Association expressed helplessness but did say that the current situation does not look good for the country's sporting future. "We have tried our best but it is the government [which has to grant visas]. It is a dangerous situation for all sport in the country," IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta said.

'Country's image affected'
"In addition to not being able to host events in India, there may be issues for our athletes to take part in international events. We will approach the government so that the situation does not reach that far. It is a violation of Olympic Charter and the country's image has been lowered. If the government does not give guarantees, another letter may come from IOC," he added.

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