Govt assures IOA and IOC that eligible athletes will be allowed to participate in Intl events

In a major development, the government Tuesday gave a written guarantee to the IOA and IOC that all eligible athletes will be allowed to participate in international events held in the country.

The government’s decision comes after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had decided to “suspend all discussions” with India regarding hosting of global sporting events after Pakistani shooters were not issued visas for the World Cup held here in February this year.

The Olympic committee had also revoked the Olympic qualification status for two quota places in the 25m rapid fire event from the New Delhi World Cup due to denial of visas to the Pakistani shooters in the wake of the Pulwama terrorist attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

The IOC had then said that it will not allow India to organise Olympic-related events in the future, unless written assurances are obtained from the government.

In a written communication to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra, Union Sports Secretary Radhey Shyam Jhulaniya Tuesday said India will “permit all qualified athletes belonging to any National Olympic Committee recognised by IOC or any national federation affiliated to International Federation concerned to participate”.

He added: “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.”

“This stated policy of the Government of India guarantees the participation of all eligible athletes, sportspersons and officials in international sporting events organised in India under the auspices of IOC.”

Last year, Kosovan boxer Donjeta Sadiku was also denied participation in the World Women’s Championships in New Delhi since India does not recognise the nation.

But the Sports Secretary said the government is committed to the development of sports in the country.

“The Government of India has always attached high importance to the development of sports in the country and the hosting of international sporting events. It is the vision of our Government to enhance sporting capabilities of our people through our association with the IOC and based on the values and principles of Olympic Charter,” Jhulaniya wrote in his letter to Batra, a copy of which is also marked to IOC chief Thomas Bach.

“Such commitment of the Government of India stems from our world view of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ or ‘The World is one family’ which, in essence, is also the spirit behind International Olympic Movement.

“We look forward to co-operating with the IOC to resolve any matter in the light of our communication on the hosting of international sporting events by India,” he added.

IOA President Batra was delighted with the news and thanked all who worked towards resolving the crisis.

“My sincere thanks to Ajay Singh, President of Boxing Federation of India for all his support. My thanks also goes to the office bearers, Executive Board and all the members of IOA for their unconditional support and trust in me, which motivated and encouraged me in resolving the issue,” Batra said.

“The Hon’ble Sports Minister and the Secretary, Sports were extremely positive and helpful for an urgent and immediate resolution of the issue.”