PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP)Kosovo’s president wants India to reconsider its decision to deny Kosovar boxers their national flag and anthem at the women’s world championships in New Delhi.
India does not recognize Kosovo as an independent state.
President Vjosa Osmani considered India’s decision “a blatant violation of int’l sporting standards,” in a Twitter post.
“As an IBA-Boxing member, Kosovo is entitled to participate under its flag & anthem. We urge India to reconsider their decision.”
Donjeta Sadiku, a world and European championships bronze medalist last year, considered it “unfair to treat Kosovo, unlike the other members, for political reasons.”
“I believe in sport’s power to bring people together and promote peace and good understanding among the nations.”
At the opening ceremony of the women’s worlds on Wednesday, Russia’s team paraded with its national symbols. Russian and Belarusian boxers were banned from international events after Russia invaded Ukraine but the International Boxing Association controversially lifted restrictions in October.
In response to their presence, the governing bodies of the United States, Britain and Ukraine were among more than a dozen countries to withdraw support for the women’s worlds, and the men’s worlds in Uzbekistan in May.
Nevertheless, the IBA said 300 boxers from 65 countries were in the India capital.
Tensions over Kosovo’s status remain a source of instability in the Balkans.
Kosovo’s 1998-99 rebellion of separatist ethnic Albanians for independence from Serbia was followed with Belgrade’s brutal crackdown. That stopped when a 78-day NATO intervention forced Serbia to pull out of the territory and ended the war.
Nine years later, Kosovo broke away with a majority ethnic Albanian population and declared independence in 2008, which Serbia has not recognized.
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