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Shooters’ Olympics hopes thrown in doubt



KARACHI: The Pakistan shooting contingent’s chances to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics — along with other Asian nations — were thrown into doubt after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stripped the Asian Shooting Championship of its status as a qualifying tournament for next year’s Games.

The decision came after hosts Kuwait denied a visa to Yair Davidovich, an Israeli official of the International Sports Shooting Federation (ISSF), who was due to supervise the Championship being held in Kuwait from November 1-12.

“Denying Davidovich a visa is against the non-discrimination principle of the Olympic Charter,” said the IOC.

Last chance for Pakistan shooters to reach Rio

It is important to mention here that Kuwait has not been issuing visas to Israelis since 2013.

Pakistan’s 15-member team was scheduled to leave for the event on Saturday and had made all the preparations for their participation before the IOC’s decision came as a blow.

“We have already paid the participation fee — US$150 for each delegate — bought the tickets and paid for the accommodations as well,” National Rifle Association of Pakistan secretary general Javaid Lodhi told The Express Tribune. “Altogether, we have spent Rs1.2 million and cannot draw back and waste all that investment.”

The official added that Asian Shooting Confederation has said that they will go in higher courts to appeal the IOC’s decision and reclaim the event’s status.

“On the other hand, the ISSF has written to us that they will soon organise a different event for the qualification round and will compensate the match fee and other expenses,” continued Lodhi.

However, according to Lodhi, the next qualification event would most likely be held in India, which is not a viable venue for Pakistan currently after Shiv Sena, a Hindu extremist group, stormed the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s headquarters ahead of a scheduled meeting with the Pakistan Cricket Board officials.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st, 2015.

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