Bringing an unfortunate end to the controversy surrounding participation of
athletes for the
(IOC) on Friday revoked the Olympic qualification status (two quota places) for the Men's 25m Rapid Fire pistol event due to non-issuance of visa to the three-member Pakistani contingent.
Shooters Muhammad Khalil Akhtar and Ghulam Mustafa Bashir, along with an official, were scheduled to participate in the Feb 20-28 event at the Dr Karni Singh
Range in the Indian capital.
"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," the IOC said in its statement.
"Since becoming aware of the issue, and in spite of intense last-minute joint efforts by the IOC, the
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," it added.
The IOC has asked the ISSF "to make a proposal on how the two available Olympic quota places will now be otherwise reassigned".
Among the 35-member Indian shooting contingent in the World Cup, Anish Bhanwala, Arpit Goel, Bhavesh Shekhawat, Adarsh Singh and Gurpreet Singh are participating in the Men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event. However, only Bhanwala, Goel and Adarsh are in contention for a medal. The other two are participating for Minimum Qualification Score (MQS).
After failing to obtain an Indian visa, the National Rifle Association of Pakistan had written to the ISSF that the two Olympic quotas in the event be shifted to another tournament.
Doubts over Pakistan's participation in the tournament were first raised after 40 CRPF jawans were killed in a terror attack in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir last week.
Meanwhile, a further setback for Indian sports was IOC's decision to suspend all further talks regarding India hosting any future IOC-sanctioned events because non-participation of any country is against the Olympic Charter.
"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," the IOC statement added.
"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 apex body said.