Kosovo boxer questions decision to name India hosts of World Boxing Championships
India does not recognise Kosovo - a disputed territory in South Eastern Europe. Kosova boxer Donjeta Sadiku therefore has become ineligible to participate.
Having lost all hope of securing an Indian visa to compete at the Women's Boxing World Championship, starting here Wednesday, Kosova boxer Donjeta Sadiku has questioned International Boxing Association's (IBA) decision to grant the event's hosting rights to India.
Uncertainty looms large over Sadiku's participation at IBA's flagship event since the Indian government is yet to grant her visa. India does not recognise Kosovo - a disputed territory in South Eastern Europe. Sadiku said Kosovo's Sports Ministry is trying to get in touch with the Indian government but it seems she will have to miss the prestigious tournament yet again.
"I don't have any response from India yet. The Boxing Federation of India is allowing my participation in world boxing championship, and IBA said that there won't be any problem but the India government, and foreign ministry have not yet responded to my visa application," a despondent Sadiku told PTI on Sunday night.
"Our ministry of sport is trying to contact them but we have lost hope. Tomorrow (Monday) we have our plane ticket, and there is no response yet," she added.
This is not the first time Sadiku has faced such a situation. The 2022 lightweight World Championship bronze medallist boxer has been denied the Indian visa twice before, which led to her missing the 2018 women's World Championship in Delhi and the Youth Women's World Boxing Championships in Guwahati respectively.
"I don't know why IBA allowed India to organise this championship, knowing that India didn't allow me participate there in the past."
"This is the third time that the India government is not allowing me to participate in world boxing championship. I'm very disappointed, as I’ve trained very hard and I was very motivated to take a medal in India."
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 but India does not recognise it as a state. The Serbian Olympic committee protested when Kosovo was granted provisional International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognition in October 2014.
When asked the BFI for a comment, President Ajay Singh said, "This is not a preserve of the Boxing Federation of India, this is a prerogative of the government of India, it's up to them to give a visa or not. We have approached them in the past, this is a call of the government."
Sadiku said the Boxing Federation of Kosovo had filed her visa application in December. The IBA, on its part, said it had done "everything possible" to ensure Kosovo's participation but granting the visa is up to the state authorities.
"It's with great disappointment that the International Boxing Association (IBA) learned that the visas of the Kosovo team are still pending," the IBA said in a statement, released to PTI.
"In close cooperation with the Boxing Federation of India, IBA has done everything possible to ensure Kosovo's participation in the Women's World Boxing Championships in New Delhi.
"All necessary arrangements, including invitation letters, were made in advance. However, the issuance of visas is up to the state authorities, and IBA, despite doing its utmost, cannot influence the official process and final decision."