Kosovo boxer Donjeta Sadiku set to be denied India visa again
Three days ahead of the Women's World Boxing Championships in New Delhi, Donjeta Sadiku is without an entry permit for India because India does not recognise her country Kosovo's independence.
The visa fiasco surrounding a boxer from Kosovo which had put a dent in India's reputation as a venue for international events back in 2018 is happening again.
Three days ahead of the Women's World Boxing Championships in New Delhi, Donjeta Sadiku is without an entry permit for India because India does not recognise her country Kosovo's independence from Serbia. Sadiku had been barred from the Worlds in 2018 as well, when it had been hosted in India.
The Kosovo boxing federation has said that they had made a request for Sadiku many months ago because they were aware of the issue, but that neither the BFI, the Indian boxing federation, nor the world boxing body have given any positive response.
“We applied in December last year for participation in the World Championship in India with all the necessary visa documentation, and this is the third month. We have received the same answers. We have sent e-mails to the Federation of India and the World Federation IBA daily, but they gave us the same answer,” the federation's secretary, Latif Demolli, told Kosovapress.
Kosovo gained independence from Serbia in 2008, but there is dispute between Nato and non-Nato countries on the matter. India, owing to historical ties with Serbia, do not recognise Kosovo as a country.
This is not the first time there has been controversy regarding participation of a Kosovar athlete, but countries like Spain and Brazil have managed to make special provisions in recent years. As for India, the last time this happened in 2018, India's political stance had won the day and Sadiku was banned at the risk of censure from the international community.
"No boxer should be affected by any political decision while trying to achieve the dream of competing at the international level. Politics and sports should in no way be mixed," the world boxing body AIBA had told BFI back then, deciding to take away the 2021 Men's World Boxing Championship hosting rights away from India as punishment. However, that move had backfired as the event had been hosted in Serbia, where also Kosovar athletes had been barred.
The BFI has said in the past that they are helpless when it comes to the matter of allowing Kosovar athletes into the country.
Sadiku is one of the foremost boxers from Kosovo. She was the bronze medallist in the lightweight category at last year's World Championships in Istanbul.
The teams are expected to travel to New Delhi on Monday, with the World Championships scheduled for March 15 to 26.
Three days remain for the BFI to pull out a diplomatic rabbit out of the hat to allow Sadiku to play in New Delhi.