Indian government guarantees participation to all foreign athletes in international events

The Indian government’s decision comes after the International Olympic Committee 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.

IOA President Narinder Batra (in picture) expressed his delight with the news and thanked all those who worked towards resolving the crisis.   -  PTI

The confusion and threat around international sporting events in India seems to have abated after the Sports Ministry categorically reaffirmed that qualified athletes from all recognised countries would be allowed participation regardless of political issues.

In a letter to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Tuesday, the ministry clarified its position. “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.

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“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.”

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It may be noted that India had lost quota places in two events at the shooting World Cup earlier this year as Pakistani shooters were not allowed to participate. India then lost the hosting rights for the Junior Asian Wrestling Championship in March. In 2018, too, a Kosovan boxer was denied visa for the Women’s World Championships.

IOC had clarified to Sportstar in March that there is no blanket ban on India hosting important sporting events, ending the uncertainty over the fate of several scheduled Olympic qualifying events. The IOC had also said that every international federation was free to assess the impact and act accordingly. Nevertheless, international federation's and IOC had been insisting on government guarantees for international events, which has come now.