IOA will talk to govt after May 23 to sort Pakistan visa issue: Mehta

IOA will talk to govt after May 23 to sort Pakistan visa issue: Mehta

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) will have discussions with the government after the general elections to address the visa issues faced by Pakistan athletes, said its secretary general Rajeev Mehta here Thursday.

Mehta, who was here for the launch of India's first Kho KhoLeague, said few Pakistani players had shown their interest to participate inthe tournament.

"We will talk to the government after May 23 regardingthe visa issues faced by Pakistan players. Pakistan athletes have expressedtheir wish to participate in this league," said Mehta, who is also thechairman of Kho Kho Federation of India.

"It is not about only Kho Kho, other sporting eventswhich are part of International Olympic committee (IOC) are also facing similarproblems, which can be solved only after IOA talks to the government," hetold reporters.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had revoked theOlympic qualification status of a shooting event in New Delhi after Indiarefused to grant visa to two Pakistani athletes and an official in the wake ofthe Pulwama terror attack last February.

Saying that the action was against the Olympic Charter, theworld body banned India from hosting future events and urged internationalsports federations not to stage competitions in the country.

While India hosts a number of leagues across sports, none ofthem see participation of Pakistan players. The latest in the list is the'Ultimate Kho Kho', a high-octane franchise-based league proposed to be held inNovember this year.

The league will see some interesting features like theintroduction of 'wazir', who is free to run either left or right in the wingbut cannot cross the centre line.

"We brought in the concept of wazir to make it moremodern, more exciting and more youth friendly. We are confident that peoplewill enjoy this new approach and style that this traditional sport willbring," said Sudhanshu Mittal, KKFI president.

The 28-minute match will see a round of seven minutes each,with four turns in two innings. Among other innovations, instant replacement ofdefenders has been introduced, besides two reviews per innings.Amit Burman, vice chairman, Dabur Foods andpromoter of the league, said: "Our vision is to spread the sport to everycorner and we will do whatever is required to build a successful sportleague."

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