Kosovo boxer Donjeta Sadiku may again lose the chance to represent her country at the Boxing World Championship for Women in India all due to visa issues. Despite having an Albanian passport, alongside with the Kosovo passport, the Indian authorities have still not processed her visa application.
While the Boxing Championship is due to start on November 15, the President of the Boxing Federation of India Ajay Singh is still hopeful that the authorities would issue a visa to Sadiku.
“The boxer concerned also has an Albanian passport and we have diplomatic ties with Albania, so that should work,” Singh said, also adding that he would be meeting officials of the Ministry of External Affairs, in a bid to convince them to speed up the visa processing.
At the same time, an official of the Federation expressed his concerns that such actions of Indian authorities could hamper India’s chances of hosting major multi-sporting international events in the future.
“Kosovo is allowed to participate by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) so they need to be accommodated. If India refuses them participation, it will hit our chances of hosting the Youth Olympic Games somewhere down the line,” this official said.
The situation is also being monitored by the Indian Olympic Association and the IOC.
Kosovo Sports – a History of (Almost) Lost Opportunities Due to Visa Issues
This is not the first time that Kosovo sportsmen and sportswomen have (almost) lost the opportunities to participate in sports events, including the Olympics and other championships.
Last year, the same boxer lost the chance to represent Kosovo at the AIBA Women’s Youth World Championships in India due to visa issues. The governing bodies had listed her among the favorites for success.
No earlier than in August this year, Bosnian authorities did not issue visas in time to the Kosovo basketball team to compete in the U-16 European Championship that took place in Sarajevo. Bosnia and Serbia are the only two former Yugoslavian countries that have still not recognized Kosovo.
Back in March, Kosovo almost lost its chance to participate at the Mediterranean Games in Spain, after the Spanish Ministry of Sport refused to grant visas for Kosovo delegation, despite the fact that the International Olympic Committee has recognized Kosovo Olympic Committee and the country had already attended the Olympic Games in Rio and Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Spain is one of the five EU countries, that have still not recognized Kosovo as an independent country, even almost 11 years after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. The rest of the EU countries that have yet not recognized Kosovo are Romania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Greece.