Another refusal to give a written guarantee that Pakistan athletes would get their entry visas post the Pulwama attack has snatched away two more international events from India. The country has lost the hosting rights of two premier international tennis tournaments – Junior Davis Cup and Fed Cup – scheduled to be held in the capital in April.
After India’s denial of visas to Pakistani shooters for the ISSF World Cup held in Delhi last month, last Saturday had also witnessed the United World Wrestling (UWW) strip India of its hosting rights of the Junior Asian championships.
Meanwhile, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) – tennis' governing body – has reallocated the championships to Bangkok following a request by its Asian counterpart (ATF).
The junior Davis Cup was scheduled from April 8-13 while the Fed Cup matches were to be played between April 15 and 20 at the RK Khanna stadium.
The ITF’s decision was primarily based on two counts, reports TOI. According to sources in the All India Tennis Association, the first was the absence of a written guarantee from the Indian government that the travelling Pakistani contingent for the Davis Cup would be granted entry visa. A total of 16 teams in the under-16 age category, including Pakistan, were expected to compete in India for the Davis Cup.
The second reason was the continued closure of Pakistan’s air space following the Balakot air strike, which would have made the flight journeys of visiting teams for the tournaments a lot more arduous, given that they would have been forced to take alternate routes and long flights to enter the Indian airspace.
"We all know that AITA wouldn’t have arranged for a written undertaking from the ministry of external affairs (MEA) and the ministry of home affairs (MHA) that the Pakistani tennis contingent would be allowed to compete in the junior Davis Cup. Their names were there in the competition list, so they were coming. Pakistan’s female tennis players, too, have occasionally participated in the Fed Cup. We couldn’t have ensured visas for them either, so the event would have in any case been taken away from AITA. The government is not at all willing to give any undertaking at the moment,” the source told TOI.
It will not be an exaggeration to say that the right to conduct international sports in India has certainly hit a roadblock.