Harpal Singh Bedi / New Delhi
In a last ditch effort to get Kosovan boxer Donjeta Sadiku take part in the Women’s World Boxing championship, the Indian Olympic Association(IOA) on Wednesday urged the Sports Ministry to sort out the issue at the earliest or be prepared for sanction from the International Olympic Committee(IOC) .
IOA president Narinder Batra cautioned the authorities that denial of visa to the lone Kosovo boxer could lead to the IOC asking all the international federations not to award major events to India.
Giving an example, he said recently, the IOC had sent letters to all the 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 held there.
Kosovan boxers did not participate in the Youth World Championships held in Guwahati last year due to the same issue. The IOA plans to bid for the 2026 Youth Olympics Games and the bidding process is likely to start in 2020.
In a letter to the sports ministry, Batra said “It is required that immediate action is taken today by Indian authorities to make sure the athletes and delegation from Kosovo will be able to take part in the Championships and will be treated in the same conditions as any other participants without any undue discrimination in accordance with the values and principles which govern the Olympic Movement worldwide,” .
He warned that“failing which the situation will be reported to all international sports organisations concerned for appropriate action which will call into question the hosting of future international sports events in India until the issue is solved,”
Elaborating further, Batra said that “International sports organisations cannot accept a situation where a host country unilaterally forbids the participation of certain athletes from other countries/territories on political grounds. Otherwise, this will threaten the fundamental principles of Olympic Movement,” .
Kosovo also participated in the 2016 Rio Olympics despite the fact that Brazil, too, doesn’t recognise the disputed country.