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Indian sports caught in Pakistan conundrum after Pulwama terror attack

The fallout of the Pulwama terror attack, which killed over 40 CRPF personnel, on the sporting ties between India and Pakistan was felt the strongest on Friday.

PTI PTI
New Delhi Published on: February 22, 2019 20:49 IST
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Indian sports caught in Pakistan conundrum after Pulwama terror attack

The national Olympic body stared at the possibility of international isolation, while the cricket administrators grappled and remained non-committal on whether to play a match which is over three months away.

The fallout of the Pulwama terror attack, which killed over 40 CRPF personnel, on the sporting ties between India and Pakistan was felt the strongest on Friday.

After shooters from across the border were denied visas for the World Cup in Delhi, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) suspended all discussions with the IOA and government regarding the potential applications for hosting future sports and Olympic-related events in India.

The IOC, after an executive board meeting on Thursday evening in Lausanne, also revoked the Olympic qualification status of the 25m rapid fire pistol event in which the Pakistani shooters were expected to participate.

Besides, it urged other international federations to not award hosting rights of any events to India, a country that aspires to conduct the 2026 Youth Olympics, the 2032 Summer Olympics and the 2030 Asian Games among others.

The IOC said its stand against the country will remain clear until "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".

In Delhi, cricket was itself in focus amid a clamour to boycott the June 16 World Cup clash against the neighbours.

The Committee of Administrators (CoA), running the sport, said it is in talks with the government but would not take a stand just yet after a meeting to address the spiralling speculation around the match.

"The 16th of June is very far away. We will take a call on that much later and in consultation with the government," CoA chief Vinod Rai said.

But the ICC and other nations were requested to "sever ties" with countries from where "terrorism emanates".

In the mail sent to the world body, which is in PTI's possession, the BCCI said it is concerned about the security of Indian players heading into the World Cup but refrained from making any mention of the Pakistan match.

"BCCI fears for the safety and security of players and match officials participating in upcoming ICC events including the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Most countries from which the members of the ICC hail (including United Kingdom) have strongly condemned this terrorist attack and expressed solidarity with India," the letter stated.

"The BCCI trusts that the ICC and ECB will ensure that the most robust security is provided to players, match officials and fans of Indian cricket for the upcoming World Cup," it said.

It is understood that BCCI officials are also concerned that such a stand might cost them the hosting rights of the 2021 Champions Trophy and the 2023 World Cup.

The call to boycott the World Cup match came from some prominent names in Indian cricket such as senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and former captains Mohammed Azharuddin and Sourav Ganguly.

The ICC has, so far, not reacted to the situation but IOC's tough-talking has left the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) worried.

"In addition to not being able to host events in India, there may be problems for our athletes to take part in international events. We will approach the government again so that the situation does not reach that far," IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta said.

"It is a violation of Olympic Charter and the country's image has been lowered. If the Indian government does not give guarantees within 15 to 20 days, another letter may come from IOC," he added.

Pakistan's shooting federation had Wednesday requested the International Shooting Federation (ISSF) not to offer quota places in the events their shooters were scheduled to participate in.

Pakistan had applied for visas for two shooters -- G M Bashir and Khalil Ahmed -- in the rapid-fire category as the event in New Delhi also served as a qualifier for the 2020 Olympic games. 

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