New Delhi: The ongoing ISSF Shooting World Cup in the capital got off to a far-from-ideal start on Thursday with the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) revoking Olympic quotas from the 25-metre rapid fire pistol event in light of India's non-issuance of visa to Pakistan's three-member contingent — including shooters GM Bashir and Khalil Ahmed.
This, however, has done little to dampen the spirits of Anish Bhanwala and Adarsh Singh, both of whom are making their Senior World Cup debut in this event.
"We had some hint that this would happen since we had read the news that Pakistan had requested the ISSF that quotas be withdrawn from this World Cup. However, the announcement still came as a bit of shock. All of us were understandably worried and tense last night," Adarsh, the reigning national champion, told Firstpost.
At the event's opening ceremony, ISSF president Vladimir Lisin announced that all quotas may be withdrawn from this World Cup before IOC's verdict that only the 25-metre rapid-fire pistol will be affected was made public in the wee hours of Friday.
The late-night development, that came after hectic parleys among the ISSF, IOC, Indian Olympic Association (IOA), and the Government of India, means that India's pistol trio of Anish, Adarsh, and Arpit Goel will have to compete at the event without the chance of sealing a berth for the Tokyo Games.
"Till the time we were awake, we knew that all quotas have been withdrawn. However, in the morning, other shooters informed us that it's only our category that is affected. It was definitely bad news but this is still a World Cup and we are determined to do well. There is a gold medal to be won; quotas can be taken later. Whatever has happened is not because of our fault, so we are not really upset," added a confident Adarsh.
His thoughts were echoed by Anish, the Commonwealth Games gold medallist, who said the absence of quota has not affected his motivation.
"There's enough to play for. A World Cup is a World Cup," he said.
"Last night, we had a chat with our coaches and seniors, and everyone told us to focus on or game, which I think is the right way to go about things. The Olympic berths will be redistributed in future events, so we are not overtly worried."
India's refusal to grant visas to the Pakistani contingent was deemed a violation of the Olympic charter relating to discrimination and political interference from the host country.
“Since becoming aware of the issue, and in spite of intense last-minute ... efforts ... and discussions with the Indian government authorities, no solution has been found to allow the Pakistani delegation to enter India in time to compete,” the IOC statement said.
“As a result, the IOC Executive Board also decided to suspend all discussions with the Indian NOC and government regarding the potential applications for hosting future sports and Olympic-related events in India,” it said.
The 25-metre rapid fire pistol event is scheduled on 26 February.
Updated Date: Feb 22, 2019 21:07:34 IST