IOC 'suspends discussions' with India for hosting global events after denial of visa to Pak shooters

NEW DELHI: 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 on Saturday in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, which martyred 44 CRPF personnel. As a result, the IOC revoked the two Olympic quotas on offer in the men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol competition of the event.

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 already 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.

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 Friday 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 ultimately 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 in Delhi.

"In addition to not being able to host events in India, there may be problems for our athletes to take part in international events. We will approach the government again 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 Indian government does not give guarantees within 15 to 20 days, another letter may come from IOC," he added.

Besides their aspiration to host the Olympics, India already have the hosting rights of the 2021 men's world boxing championships.

Last year, the country courted controversy by denying visa to a boxer from Kosovo during the women's world championships, something that was taken note of by the IOC in its letter to the IOA on Friday.

The IOC's decision to take away the Olympic qualification status of the shooting event came hours after International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) President Vladimir Lisin announced that all the allotted 16 Olympic quotas for the 2020 Games would be scrapped from the Delhi World Cup. the event-proper starts Saturday.

However, the apex body limited the withholding of quotas to only two while retaining 14.

"This happened in the interest of the other 500 athletes from 61 countries participating in the other events who are already in India for their competition," the IOC said in its statement.

Pakistan's shooting federation had Wednesday requested the ISSF not to offer quota places in the events their shooters were scheduled to participate in.

Pakistan had applied for visas for two shooters -- G M Bashir and Khalil Ahmed -- in the rapid fire category as the event in New Delhi also served as a qualifier for the 2020 Olympic games.

 

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PTI