The International Olympic Committee has decided to scrap only two Olympic quotas rather than all 16 on offer at the season-opening Shooting World Cup which begins on Saturday in New Delhi.
The decision comes after India failed to give visas to the Pakistan team which included two shooters in the 25m rapid fire pistol event and a team manager.
“The IOC in its wisdom has decided to withhold the issuance of the two quotas available in this event and at the same time cleared the issuance of 14 quotas available in other events,” president of National Rifle Association of India Raninder Singh said.
Earlier on Thursday, International Shooting Sport Federation President Vladimir Lisin had informed that all Olympic qualification spots that were on offer at Delhi World Cup, which was later called a miscommunication by Singh. The NRAI chief had said talks were on with IOC.
Here’s the IOC statement on the matter which, while offering temporary relief to the organisers of the New Delhi World Cup, puts a question mark over India hosting future events:
The IOC restricted the withdrawal of recognition as an Olympic qualification event to the 25m rapid fire pistol competition in which the two Pakistani athletes were supposed to participate. This happened in the interest of the other 500 athletes from 61 countries participating in the other events who are already in India for their competition.
Since becoming aware of the issue, and in spite of intense last-minute joint efforts by the IOC, the ISSF and the Indian NOC, and discussions with the Indian government authorities, no solution has been found to allow the Pakistani delegation to enter India in time to compete.
This situation goes against the Fundamental Principles of the Olympic Charter, in particular the principles of non-discrimination, as well as the IOC’s and the Olympic Movement’s position, reiterated on many occasions over the past few years, that equal treatment must be guaranteed for all participating athletes and sporting delegations at international sports events, without any form of discrimination or political interference from the host country.
As a result, the IOC Executive Board also decided to suspend all discussions with the Indian NOC and government regarding the potential applications for hosting future sports and Olympic-related events in India, until clear 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 – and to recommend that the IFs neither award to nor hold sports events in India until the above-mentioned guarantees are obtained.
The ISSF was asked to make a proposal on how the two available Olympic quota places will now be otherwise reassigned.— Statement from IOC regarding Olympic quotas for ISSF World Cup
After the IOC decision on Thursday night, no country will receive quotas in the men’s 25m rapid fire pistol event which involves a three-member Indian team as well. The team consists of Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anish Bhanwala, national champion Adarsh Sharma and Arpit Goel.
India will now be able to compete for only 12 quotas as they have already won two quotas in women’s 10m air rifle event.
According to the Rule 44 of IOC charter, “NOCs must investigate the validity of the entries proposed by the national federations and ensure that no one has been excluded for racial, religious or political reasons or by reason of other forms of discrimination.”
The same was quoted by Lisin at the opening ceremony but after the opening ceremony, Raninder told reporters that the decision is not final and that there has been a miscommunication on the part of Lisin, that he meant to say quota places “may” be withdrawn.
“Nothing is cancelled as of now. The status as of now is we don’t know. We are waiting,” Singh had said on Thursday evening. “There are meetings that are going on where the position is being assessed by the IOC and Indian government. Everyone is working very hard but it is very peculiar position. It is very unprecedented scenario and it is unfortunate.”