‘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 International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided against withdrawing all the Olympic quotas from the shooting World Cup in New Delhi and revoked just two after visas were denied to Pakistani shooters in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack.
Within hours of International Shooting Federation (ISSF) President Vladimir Lisin's declaration that all the 16 quotas have been revoked due to the situation with Pakistan, the IOC said the Olympic qualification status has been withdrawn from only the men's 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event. This event had two spots on offer.
"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," the IOC said in a statement after its executive board meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland.
"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," it added.
The National Rifles Association of India (NRAI) heaved a sigh of relief a day before the start of the competition.
"The Organising Committee of the New Delhi World Cup wishes to unequivocally thank the ISSF President Vladimir Lisin, the ISSF Secretary General Alexander Ratner, the IOA President Dr. Narinder Batra, and the Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Col (Retd.) RVS. Rathore for ensuring the best possible outcome to a vexed and complexed scenario," NRAI President Raninder Singh told PTI.
"...the NRAI is Committed to working with the ISSF, IOA, and the Ministry of sports to ultimately addressing the future consequences of this most peculiar and unprecedented scenario brought on by reasons beyond the regular control of the NRAI and the ISSF.
"Both the ISSF and the NRAI shall gracefully comply with the IOC's findings and hope in a large measure to address the other points raised by the IOC," he added.
Pakistan shooters' participation in the tournament became the bone of contention since the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama killed more than 40 CRPF personnel last Thursday.
Pakistan had applied for visas for two shooters -- G M Bashir and Khalil Ahmed -- in the rapid fire category as the event in New Delhi also served as a qualifier for the 2020 Olympic Games.