The Olympic Council of Asia has warned India it could miss out on hosting major Games after a boxer from Kosovo was denied a visa to compete in the women’s world championships in New Delhi.
India, which does not recognise Kosovo, has expressed a strong interest in hosting the 2032 Olympics and 2030 Asian Games.
Donjeta Sadiku and her two coaches were denied an Indian visa despite the best efforts of the Boxing Federation of India and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
In a letter to India’s sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and IOA president Narinder Batra, OCA chief Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said the incident could have far-reaching effects.
“The incident has seriously cast a doubt on the eligibility of India in hosting major international sporting events and other major games, like the Olympics, Asian Games etc, in India,” OCA president wrote in his letter seen by AFP.
The Republic of Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 but many countries, most notably Russia, still do not recognise the Balkan state.
But Al-Sabah reminded India about the rules of the Olympic Charter.
“As you are aware as per Olympic Charter and OCA constitution, it is the duty of the organising committee to provide entry to every eligible athlete participating in a major championship without discrimination,” he wrote.
Al-Sabah also cited how Spain, despite not recognising Kosovo as a sovereign country, this week lifted its ban on visiting Kosovan athletes using Kosovo’s anthem and flag.
Boxers from 72 nations are competing in the flagship event of the International Boxing Federation (AIBA) in the Indian capital.