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Reports | ISSF World Cup - India's hosting rights under threat after denying visas for Pakistani shooters

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Reports | ISSF World Cup - India's hosting rights under threat after denying visas for Pakistani shooters

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SportsCafe Desk


India's hosting rights of ISSF World Cup are under threat after they denied Pakistani shooters for a travel visa in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack where more than 40 Indian soldiers were killed. The ISSF World Cup gets underway on February 22 with Tokyo Olympics places up for grabs.

On the eve of the opening ceremony for the ISSF World Cup in Delhi, the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) has threatened ‘consequences for India as a host country for future international competitions since it has failed to provide visas to Pakistan shooters. National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) president Raninder Singh conceded this as a violation of Olympic charter but he has refused to speculate on the possible sanctions the country could be facing now.

“ISSF World Cup in New Delhi faces an urgent situation as Pakistani athletes cannot get entry visas to participate in the competition, due to the terrorist attacks happened last days in India. The ISSF and the Organizing Committee of the competition are taking all efforts to solve the situation to avoid the discrimination of the Pakistani team. Besides that, the ISSF and the Organizing Committee are discussing the possible consequences for India as a host country for future international competitions, in all sports,” the ISSF said in a statement, as reported by The Indian Express.

Pakistan has written a letter to the ISSF requesting them to withdraw the Tokyo Olympics quota places on offer in the 25m rapid fire pistol event at the Delhi World Cup, which is scheduled to begin on Saturday. ISSF secretary general Alexander Ratner said Pakistan have suggested to shift the quota competition for the said event to the World Cup in Beijing which is scheduled to take place this year in April.

Referring to the change, Ratner said that this can only be made by the IOC who have been in touch with them regarding the issue on Tuesday. 

“Pakistan has requested us not to distribute Olympic quota in rapid fire pistol in Delhi, where Pakistani athletes were supposed to take part. They have asked us to distribute it in next World Cup in Beijing,To change (the format) is the authority of the IOC, we can’t do it. We are trying to find a solution with the Indian authorities. We have sent a letter to the minister and hope to meet him," Ratner stated.

NRAI president Raninder Singh said that they have requested a status report from the Indian high commission in Islamabad but there has been no response.

“We know that they were granted a visa. We know that they’ve received a phone call to say that’s a mistake. Thereafter, we are asking for a status report from the high commission and we haven’t received one despite our written requests,” Raninder said.

“It is unfortunate that the team has, for whatever reasons, not been granted visas despite all our efforts. However, the format of the competition has not been changed. What other consequences follow based on the decision of the government of India on this issue, we will see when they come up. Why speculate…”

Moreover, as stated by Ratner, The ‘other consequences’  of this can be more severe. He also talked about the recent case where the IOC stripped Malaysia out of the hosting rights for the World Para-Swimming Championships after they refused to let Israelis compete in the event. 

“Just over three weeks ago all international federations have received a circular letter from the IOC… (in relation to) the case. We can’t make parallels (but) let’s try to find a solution. In the end, it’s up to the IOC. We know the organising committee has done everything possible so it’s not a question of shooting. It’s about the situation in general,” Ratner said.

“The IOC’s stand on violation of Olympic charter in terms of denial of opportunity are very clear. All federations across the world have received advise on what the Olympic committee’s views are on this. Beyond this, it’s not for me to speculate it is for Mr Batra (IOA president Narendra Batra) and sports minister to comment."

Although India are again scheduled to host a World Cup next year, Raninder was unwary about that and said his federation cannot comment on government’s decision.

“The NRAI sympathises with families of our soldiers. As a custodians of international federation’s responsibilities, and the Olympic charter, we have made every possible effort to ensure that all nations receive visas. But NRAI is not the government of India. And it cannot comment on the reasons or wisdom of the government. It simply accepts them with all humility given the circumstances. However, what consequences follow from the international federation is something I cannot comment on," the NRAI president explained.

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