Spain to allow Kosovan athletes to use flag, anthem

Narinder Batra

"But ultimately the decision to whether or not grant visas is really a sovereign issue", Singh added.

IOC NewsThe International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE) wish to publicly express their deepest satisfaction with the decision taken today by the Spanish Government regarding the participation of Kosovan athletes in international competitions to be held in Spain. Another IOA official said Kosovo also participated in the 2016 Rio Olympics despite the fact that Brazil too doesn't recognise the disputed country.

The World Championships would see participation from over 300 boxers from 73 countries but it is the one missing name - Donjeta - that might well overshadow the entire event.

Recognition of Kosovo remains a problematic issue for Spain, whose own territory, Catalonia, voted to separate from the kingdom in an unsanctioned referendum held in the fall of 2017. IOA president Narendra Batra warned India to gear for similar backlash. A spokesman for the Diplomatic Information Office said that in countries that do not recognize Kosovo, these athletes are allowed to participate under the flag of the Kosovo Olympic Committee.

This led the IOC to tell global federations that they could not award any more major events to Spain until the matter was resolved. With Sadiku having an Albanian passport and Boxing India officials taking steps to use that to get her a visa, the storm that was supposed to blow over. We might also get a letter from the International Olympic Committee soon. "But that's how it stands at the moment", an anonymous official was quoted as saying by AFP.

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In the letter, Batra said that there were multiple examples in the past of local organisers/host countries of major worldwide sports events allowing the participation of athletes from countries/territories that they did not recognise at a political level.

The Spanish government has made a decision to grant athletes from Kosovo the same rights as other nationalities when participating in global competitions held in Spain.

The Boxing Federation of India is hosting the Women's World Championships tournament after 12 long years but the IOA is anxious about the repercussions. "Otherwise, this will threaten the fundamental principles of Olympic Movement", he wrote in the letter.

Donjeta, incidentally, had also been unable to compete at the Youth World Championships in India in November 2017.

Kosovo, which declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, was recognized as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2014, receiving the right to participate in international sports events as an independent state.

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