- The IOC has suspended all discussions with India regarding hosting of global events.
- The action has been taken after two Pakistani shooters were denied visas for the New Delhi World Cup that starts on Friday.
- Olympic qualification quota for the Pakistani shooters’ 25m rapid fire event has been revoked from the Delhi World Cup.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has taken strict action against India and decided to "suspend all discussions" regarding hosting of global sporting events after two Pakistani shooters were not issued visas for the ISSF World Cup that begins on Friday, 22 February, in New Delhi.
The IOC also revoked the Olympic qualification status of the men’s 25-metre rapid fire event in which the two Pakistani shooters were to participate in New Delhi.
The IOC said it will not allow India to organise Olympic-related events in the future, unless written assurances are obtained from the government.
Pakistan had applied for visas for shooters GM Bashir and Khalil Ahmed for the WC in New Delhi that also serves as a qualifier for the 2020 Olympic games. However, following the Pulwama terror attack in which over 40 CRPF personnel were martyred on 14 February, Indian authorities denied visas to the two shooters and one official.
The IOC's decision came hours after International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) President Vladimir Lisin announced in New Delhi that all the allotted 16 Olympic quotas for the 2020 Games would be scrapped. However, the IOC limited the withholding of quotas to only two while retaining 14.
"The IOC restricted the withdrawal of recognition as an Olympic qualification event to the 25m rapid fire pistol competition in which the two Pakistani athletes were supposed to participate. This happened in the interest of the other 500 athletes from 61 countries participating in the other events who are already in India for their competition," the IOC said in a statement after its executive board meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland on Thursday.
"Since becoming aware of the issue and in spite of intense last-minute joint efforts by the IOC, the ISSF and the Indian National Olympic Committee (NOC), and discussions with the Indian government authorities, no solution has been found to allow the Pakistani delegation to enter India in time to compete," the statement said.
The IOC came down heavily on India for going against the Olympic charter.
"As a result, the IOC executive board also decided to suspend all discussions with the Indian NOC and government regarding the potential applications for hosting future sports and Olympic-related events in India, until clear written guarantees are obtained from the Indian government to ensure the entry of all participants in such events in full compliance with the rules of the Olympic charter," the IOC said.
The World Cup got underway in New Delhi on Friday and the men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event is slotted for Tuesday with Indian 16-year-old Anish Bhanwala a medal contender, in home conditions.
Bhanwala had finished on top of the podium in this very event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2018 Junior World Cup. Due to this controversy though, even if he were to finish in the top two, Bhanwala will have to wait for another quota event to book himself a spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The National Rifles Association of India (NRAI) President Raninder Singh though expressed his gratitude to all parties involved in helping retain the Olympic qualification status for the other 14 spots at the World Cup.
"The Organising Committee of the New Delhi World Cup wishes to unequivocally thank the ISSF President Vladimir Lisin, the ISSF Secretary General Alexander Ratner, the IOA President Dr. Narinder Batra, and the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Col (Retd.) RVS. Rathore for ensuring the best possible outcome to a vexed and complexed scenario. The NRAI is Committed to working with the ISSF, IOA, and the Ministry of sports to ultimately addressing the future consequences of this most peculiar and unprecedented scenario brought on by reasons beyond the regular control of the NRAI and the ISSF,” Singh told PTI.
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