The Indian government gave written assurance to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), on Tuesday, that qualified athletes from all the countries, including Pakistan, will be allowed to take part in future events hosted by India.
India was banned to host any Olympic-related event by the IOC after the government denied visa to two Pakistani shooters and one coach for the ISSF World Cup in February, in the wake of Pulwama terrorists attack. The global Olympic body had asked all the international federations to not host any sporting events in India till its government change their policies towards players from Pakistan.
In a letter to IOA President Narendra Batra, Union Sports Secretary Radhey Shyam Julaniya said that the Indian government are looking forward to co-operating with the IOC guidelines on hosting future international events and that they will permit all qualified athletes belonging from any country. The letter was also marked to IOC chief Thomas Bach.
“It is the policy of the government that India will hold international sporting events and will permit all qualified athletes belonging to any National Olympic Committee recognised by IOC or any national federation affiliated to International Federation concerned to participate. 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 athlete,” the letter read.
This decision from the government is expected to ease the tension and pave way for India to host events recognized by the IOC. It also provides a clear passage for the Pakistani sportspersons to participate in any events in India.
IOA President Batra thanked all concerned for their support. “My sincere thanks to Ajay Singh (President Boxing Federation of India) for all his support, my thanks also go to the Office Bearers, EB and all the Members of Indian Olympic Association for their unconditional support and trust in me, which motivated and encouraged me for resolution of this issue. The Hon’ble Sports Minister and the Secretary Sports Govt of India were extremely positive and helpful for an urgent and immediate resolution for this issue. I am extremely grateful to them. Thanking you all once again for all your trust and support,” he wrote.
This comes days after newly appointed Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju met IOA President and Boxing Federation chief Ajay Singh to discuss the matter. Sports minister earlier had a meeting with the IOA General Secretary Rajeev Mehta to discuss the future possibilities of hosting Olympic-related events in the country.