Women's World boxing Championships: Kosovan boxer unlikely to get visa

India’s dreams of hosting major multi-discipline sporting events might be under threat with the lone boxer from Kosovo unlikely to receive her visa for the Women's World Boxing Championships starting from Thursday.

The Boxing Federation of India is hosting the Women's World Championships tournament after 12 long years but the IOA is worried about the repercussions. (Representational Image)   -  Getty Images

India’s dreams of hosting major multi-discipline sporting events might be under threat with the lone boxer from Kosovo unlikely to receive her visa for the Women’s World Boxing Championships starting here from Thursday.

Denial of participation to Donjeta Sadiku might lead to India being barred from hosting any major sporting event in future with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) having already giving a verbal warning and likely to send out formal letters to all international sports federations reiterating the same, something that has the Indian Olympic Association concerned.

No chance

Government sources, however, insisted that there was no chance of providing clearance to Donjeta until the government changes its policy and recognises the country in the first place.

“It is not something that can be done ad-hoc. Unless there is formal recognition of Kosovo as an independent nation, there is no way someone from the country can be granted a visa,” officials said.

The Boxing Federation of India is hosting the Women's World Championships tournament after 12 long years but the IOA is worried about the repercussions.

The IOC had recently warned Spain — which also doesn’t recognise Kosovo since it broke away from Serbia in 2008 — after the latter refused permission to Kosovan athletes from competing under the national flag at the recent World World Karate Championships in Madrid. They were finally allowed to participate under the World Karate Federation flag.

Donjeta, incidentally, had also been unable to compete at the Youth World Championships in India in November 2017.

IOC deputy director-general Pere Miro was recently quoted as saying that, “If the Spanish government is not in a condition to guarantee access not only to Kosovo but to every athlete to compete, we should warn all IFs that, until this is solved, they should not hold international competitions there”. The IOC granted recognition to the Kosovo Olympic Association in 2014.

Claim refuted

While the BFI continued to insist that it was trying to work out a solution, pointing out that Donjeta also held an Albanian passport that might help her come to India, government officials refuted the claim.

“She can come here as an Albanian citizen because we recognise Albania but how will that help in representing Kosovo when the Kosovan flag cannot be hoisted on Indian soil? It makes no sense,” they explained.

The World Championships would see participation from over 300 boxers from 73 countries but it is the one missing name — Donjeta — that might well overshadow the entire event.