IOA fears IOC wrath in Kosovo visa row
The championship is beginning tomorrow but uncertainty still looms large over Donjeta Sadiku's participation at the event since the Indian government is yet to grant visas to the boxer and her two coaches
India runs the risk of losing out on hosting major international sporting events in future, if the lone boxer from Kosovo will not be allowed to compete at the upcoming women's World Championships, fears the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
The championship is beginning tomorrow but uncertainty still looms large over Donjeta Sadiku's participation at the event since the Indian government is yet to grant visas to the boxer and her two coaches.
India does not recognise Kosovo — a disputed territory in South Eastern Europe — but since Sadiku also holds an Albanian passport, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) was hoping for a resolution to the issue.
"IOC has in the past sent letters to International Federations not to award major events to Spain after athletes from Kosovo were not allowed to participate under their own flag at the Karate World Championships. And you never know it might be India next," said an IOA official. "For IOC, sports and politics are two sides of the same coin. IOC doesn't mix sports with politics and expects its member nations to follow the same guidelines."
The BFI President Ajay Singh said they are discussing the sensitive issue with the Indian government. "We are still talking to the Ministry of External Affairs. It is a sensitive issue. We have taken up the matter," Singh said.
"It's a larger external affairs issue and it is not only an India issue. It is a global issue and there needs to be a dialogue between all sides to find a solution to this problem. This is not about boxing alone, it's a much larger issue. We have taken up with the government and let's see what happens."
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