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Guarantee entry of all athletes: IOA to Rathore


New Delhi, April 18: Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has once again requested the government to submit a written guarantee to International Olympic Committee (IOC) so that India can hold international sporting events.

IOA president Narinder Batra has written to sports minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, urging him to address the issue as soon as possible.

"Government of India is requested to give an urgent written guarantee to IOC that government of India will ensure the entry of all athletes/sports officials/sporting delegations entitles to take part in any international/continental/regional sporting events held in India (including but not limited to participants from Pakistan and Kosovo, as the case may be), so that they can effectively participate under the same conditions and protocol as any other participating delegation, in accordance with the rules of international/continental/regional sports organisation concerned and in full compliance with the rules of the Olympic Charter, so that international sporting events continues to be held in India," the letter in possession of IANS read.

The IOA boss also added: "Looking from the sports perspective it is a(n) established fact that for excelling in sports, a country is required to hold official international events in its home so that its young generation is attracted and sensitized towards sports and country becomes a sporting powerhouse. As such the present situation, resulting from these recent incidents and which is now preventing India from hosting international sporting events, is not good for the overall development of Indian sports. Consequently, these issues must be quickly addressed and resolved."    

In February, the IOC had decided to 'suspend all discussions' with India regarding hosting of global sporting events after two Pakistani shooters were not issued visas for the World Cup in New Delhi. The meet was held immediately after the terrorist attack in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir.

As a consequence, the IOC said it will not allow India to organise Olympic-related events in the future unless written assurances are obtained from the government.

Reacting to India's decision not to issue visas to Pakistan shooters, IOC had earlier said: "This situation goes against the fundamental principles of the Olympic charter, in particular the principles of non-discrimination, as well as the IOC's and the Olympic movement's position, reiterated on many occasions over the past few years, that equal treatment must be guaranteed for all participating athletes and sporting delegations at international sports events, without any form of discrimination or political interference from the host country."

The IOC's decision could hamper India's chances of hosting a series of events including the proposed bids for 2026 Youth Olympics, 2030 Asian Games and 2032 Olympics. All India Football Federation (AIFF) is also in line to host the 2020 under-17 women's World Cup.

Since the government did not responded to the IOC for nearly two months, the fresh letter was issued. 

(Jaydeep Basu can be contacted at [email protected])