Kuwait loses Olympic qualifying event over visa denial
WASHINGTON (AP) The IOC revoked the Olympic qualifying status of a shooting championship in Kuwait on Thursday after an Israeli official was denied a visa to enter the Gulf country for the event.
The IOC executive board stripped the Asian Shooting Championship of its Olympic status on the request of the International Sports Shooting Federation. The event is scheduled from Nov. 1-12.
The IOC said the federation’s technical delegate, Yair Davidovich of Israel, was scheduled to supervise the event on behalf of the ISSF but was denied a visa by the Kuwaiti immigration department.
”The denial of a visa is against the non-discrimination principle of the Olympic Charter,” the IOC said. ”The Olympic Charter must apply for all Olympic Qualification competitions.”
The decision came two days after the IOC suspended Kuwait’s national Olympic committee because of government interference.
It also came as Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, a Kuwaiti, chaired the general assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees in Washington.
The suspension came after Kuwait failed to amend its disputed sports legislation by the Oct. 27 deadline set by the International Olympic Committee. FIFA suspended Kuwait’s soccer association over the same issue two weeks ago.
If the suspension is not lifted before next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Kuwaiti athletes would be barred from representing their country at the games. The IOC would consider giving them special dispensation to compete as individuals under the Olympic flag.
Kuwait was first suspended by the IOC in 2010, also in a dispute over government interference. The country was reinstated in 2012 ahead of the London Games after Kuwait’s ruler, Sheik Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, pledged autonomy for the Olympic committee and promised new legislation for institutions governing sports.