Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani has said the decision to prevent Donjeta Sadiku from competing under the country's flag at the International Boxing Association (IBA) Women’s World Championships is a "blatant violation of international sporting standards".
The World Championships are being held in India who do not recognise the independence of Kosovo, this led to Sadiku struggling to get a visa to enter the country before being granted one in Bulgaria. However, the Kosovo Olympic Committee (KOK) decided not to send her due to the “discriminatory” restrictions being imposed on her competing. KOK said Sadiku was only going to be allowed to compete if she did not use the Kosovo flag or national anthem throughout the competition.
President Osmani said “The decision to prevent Donjeta Sadiku from taking part in the World Boxing Championship is a blatant violation of international sporting standards. As an IBA member, Kosovo is entitled to participate under its flag and anthem. We urge India to reconsider their decision.”
An IBA statement said “IBA stands for sports without borders and out of politics and accepts no discrimination on any basis and will continue to fight for its athletes' rights to compete” and claims it had worked with India to ensure Kosovo could compete at the Championships but this has been unsuccessful.
The IBA has recently faced criticism after Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin was seen attending the opening ceremony with the Championship being boycotted by the United States, Britain and Ukraine after the IBA announced Russian and Belarusian athletes could compete under their flag and play their national anthems.
Photo credit: Anadolu Agency