New Delhi: The Women’s World Boxing Championships again courted controversy as a former medallist from Kosovo has withdrawn from the tournament. Donjeta Sadiku, who won a bronze at the previous edition in the 60kg division, pulled out of the tournament as she was asked to participate as a neutral athlete under the International Boxing Association (IBA) flag.
India does not recognise Kosovo as a sovereign state and a number of times athletes from Kosovo have failed to get travel visas. Sadiku has been denied permission twice in the past. This time she was given a visa on the condition that her country’s symbols – National Flag and National Song – will not be part of the medal ceremony.
The issue has been taken up by the Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani, who called it a violation of international sporting rules.
Officials of neither the Sports Ministry nor the Sports Authority of India were available for comments. “IBA always stands for the athletes’ right to represent their national symbols but cannot influence the diplomatic relationships between countries,” IBA said in a statement.
Sadiku had aired her disapproval through a video post on Wednesday. “Despite the fact that last year I won world and European medals... I am being denied the right to represent my country. The decision has caused me great disappointment,” she said.
— Vinayak Padmadeo
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