Spain to allow Kosovan athletes to use flag, anthem

Ruben Hill
November 16, 2018

The controversy began a couple of days ago when reports of Kosovar boxer Donjeta Sadiku and her two coaches being denied visas began to surface.

"But we must find and apply solutions so that athletes are protected and can participate by at least defending the Olympic committee of their own country".

Her words appear to have had no impact and her chances of participating in the World Championships are virtually over as Sadiku's name does not figure in the draw, released on Wednesday.

But Hasani added that the problem "is not only with Kosovo; there are also problems in Russia-Ukraine [sporting] relations, with Israel and Arab states and vice versa".

"This is not about boxing alone, it's a much larger issue", Singh said.

Kosovo, if allowed to compete, will be one of the nine countries to make their debut at the World Championships.

Giving an example, he said recently, the IOC had sent letters to all the worldwide federations not to award major events to Spain after athletes from Kosovo were not allowed to participate under their own flag at the Karate World Championships held there. IOA president Narendra Batra warned India to gear for similar backlash.

He said that "the International Olympic Committee and other international federations are putting a lot of effort into keeping politics away from sports, and for athletes to be treated equally everywhere", but issues still occur. "I share IOA president's concern as India is in danger of losing big events". "We might also get a letter from the International Olympic Committee soon, and will be in danger of losing big events. But that's how it stands at the moment", an anonymous official was quoted as saying by AFP.

Elaborating further, Batra said that "International sports organisations can not accept a situation where a host country unilaterally forbids the participation of certain athletes from other countries/territories on political grounds. Otherwise, this will threaten the fundamental principles of Olympic Movement", he wrote in the letter.

Spain's decision to give out visas and allow Kosovan athletes to use their flag and anthem was welcomed by Spain's Olympic Committee and the IOC.

The hosting of the 2018 Women's World Championships was supposed to be stepping stone of sorts for India after the Under-17 World Cup and before the FIH Hockey World Cup in Odisha. If one remembers correctly, this was also a subject that took over the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation after after Swiss footballer Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka were much in the limelight for their rendition of the Kosovan eagle after scoring goals in the tournament where the host country did not recognise Kosovo's independence from Serbia.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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