The cloud of confusion and threat hovering around international sporting events to be hosted in India seems to have been cleared as the Sports Ministry explicitly confirming that qualified athletes from all the recognised countries would be allowed to participate irrespective of the political issues at that time.
The ministry clarified its stand in a letter to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Tuesday. “It is the policy of the Government that India will hold international sporting events and will permit all qualified athletes belonging to any NOC recognised by IOC, or any national federation affiliated to the International Federations concerned, to participate.
“Such participation of athletes shall be without prejudice to our principled positions and policies on other political matters, including issues such as international recognition or otherwise of the country of origin of the athletes,” the letter stated.
“This stated policy guarantees the participation of all eligible athletes, sportspersons and officials in international sporting events organised in India under the auspices of the IOC. Such commitment stems from our world view of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, which in essence is also the spirit behind the International Olympic movement,” the letter added.
IOA president Narinder Batra said, “The sports minister and sports secretary were extremely positive and helpful for an urgent and immediate resolution of this issue. My sincere thanks to the office-bearers, executive board and all members of the IOA for their unconditional support and trust which motivated and encouraged me.”
It is important to note that in the aftermath of the infamous Balakot strikes, India had lost quota places in two events at the shooting World Cup earlier in the year after disallowing Pakistani shooters to participate. As a result of the incident, the AIBA had also threatened to scrap the men’s 2021 World Boxing Championships that will be hosted in the country. India further lost the hosting rights for the Junior Asian Wrestling Championship in March.
In 2018, as well, a similar controversy had erupted when Kosovan boxer was denied a visa to participate at the Women’s World Championships.