AIBA issues warning; India may lose 2021 event

The AIBA said in a statement that it was extremely disappointing to note that the Government of India could not find a solution to Donjeta Sadiku's visa issue.

The AIBA said while awarding the hosting rights for an important event “one of the primary requirements is the capability to guarantee that all eligible athletes and delegations could participate..." (Representational Image)   -  Getty Images

Expressing concern over the exclusion of Kosovo boxer Donjeta Sadiku from the women's World boxing championships due to a visa issue, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has threatened to “re-open the bidding process for the 2021 men’s World boxing championships due to take place in India.”

The AIBA said in a statement that it was extremely disappointing to note that the Government of India could not find any satisfactory solution.

“We are deeply concerned by this situation. Any boxer shouldn’t be affected by any political decision while trying to achieve the dream of competing at the international level. Politics and sports should in no way be mixed. We appreciate the efforts made by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), but AIBA will need to reconsider the 2021 men’s World Championships bid. This being said, we wish to reiterate our sincere apology to Donjeta and the boxing family of Kosovo,” said AIBA president Gafur Rakhimov.

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

The AIBA said while awarding the hosting rights for an important event “one of the primary requirements is the capability to guarantee that all eligible athletes and delegations could participate...

“It is very unfortunate that the Government of India has taken again the regrettable political decision of not allowing an athlete to achieve her dream of competing at a World championships.”

AIBA executive director Tom Virgets said the AIBA is “dead serious” about the issue and the decision of re-bidding for the 2021 event could take place at the executive committee meeting at the end of January and would like to have an assurance from the Government before that.

With reference to the World youth women's championships in Guwahati in 2017, Virgets said, “it's the second time this has happened.” He informed that AIBA had moved the 2019 men's World championships from Ukraine to Russia (Sochi) due to similar reason.

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The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has also written to Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore expressing concern over the issue.

BFI president Ajay Singh said the national federation would persuade the Government to reconsider its decision.

“The International Olympic Committee (IOC) does not recognise countries, it recognises National Olympic Committees (NOCs). Other countries have similar issues, but they find a way to keep sports and politics apart,” said the BFI chief.