International Olympic Committee cannot arm-twist India

first_imgThe Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has been bending backwards to please the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for boxers from Kosovo to get visas to compete in the women’s world boxing championship in the Capital.Last week, Mail Today had reported how the organisers in India were trying hard to get visas for the boxers who also hold Albanian passports. It is well known as far as the IOC is concerned Kosovo is certainly part of global sporting programmes and very recently they have written to various international sports federations that Spain not be allowed to host big-ticket sporting events.How India deals with countries it does not recognise is something which only the government can answer. By trying to put pressure on the government nothing is going to be achieved.On Wednesday, an email was “leaked” where IOA president Narinder Batra has asked the government to look into the Kosovo matter! It is well known that nothing can happen now on visas. The IOC writing to international sports federations not to grant India major events can become a reality. However, there is no need to panic on this count.Arm-twisting of this nature is not healthy though the IOC is well within its rights to communicate its displeasure. To cite examples of other countries hosting Kosovo at the Olympics, like Rio, is not the best example.As of today, relations between India and Pakistan are at the nadir. To play cricket, a sport close to the hearts of millions of fans in India or Pakistan is impossible. There are no bilateral series and for competitions like Asia Cup cricket, FIH World Cup, Asian Games etc, the two countries do play in neutral venues. Even now there is uncertainty over Pakistan coming for the hockey World Cup though it has nothing to do with visas.advertisementKosovo is not the first time we have had problems. Way back in 1987, when India was hosting Israel in a Davis Cup tie at the DLTA, security was extremely tight. The five-star hotel in south Delhi where the team was staying had been turned into a fortress. Even the main road leading to DLTA was blocked for traffic. The tie took place despite the problems.Way back in 1973, India were to meet South Africa in the Davis Cup final. Due to apartheid, India did not have diplomatic links with South Africa and conceded the tie. To think by not letting Kosovo athletes come to India all hell will break loose is the height of exaggeration. IOC needs India for its own reasons and to talk of the Youth Olympics bid getting derailed is a joke. The bid process is still a few years away as mentioned by IOC president Thomas Bach when he came to India earlier this year.To bully India will not work. Rather than forwarding emails, the IOA should be in touch with the IOC regularly. Not hosting the Youth Olympics will not bring heavens down. More attention needs to be given to our athletes preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. And in this, the IOA can play a more proactive role.last_img read more

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