The Kosovo Olympic Committee said athletes from the country were only allowed to compete if they did not use national symbols and the anthem ©Getty Images

Kosovar boxer Donjeta Sadiku has been withdrawn from the International Boxing Association (IBA) Women's World Championships here after the Kosovo Olympic Committee (KOK) accused organisers of imposing "discriminatory" restrictions.

Sadiku had hoped to represent Kosovo at the event in Indian capital New Delhi only to encounter visa problems.

It was not the first time Sadiki had faced such issues getting to India as the Asian nation does not recognise Kosovo's independence.

The KOK told insidethegames that the Kosovo Boxing Federation was given the green light yesterday to get a visa in Sofia in Bulgaria before organisers of the World Championships imposed restrictions on Sadiku to be able to compete.

Under the conditions, the Kosovo flag and national anthem would "not be used in any manner or at any ceremony" at the event and participants from the country "would not be allowed to carry their flag or use outfits with their flag printed on them", according to the KOK.

The KOK said it would not allow Sadiki, a bronze medallist at last year's World Championships in Istanbul, to fight under such restrictions.

"Based on the current conditions, we consider that this is a big discrimination for a boxer and Donjeta Sadiku will not travel to New Delhi," the KOK told insidethegames.

Sadiku was refused a visa to enter India at the 2018 Women’s World Championships which was also held in New Delhi and faced similar problems at the Youth Women's World Championships in the Indian city of Guwahati a year earlier.

Kosovo Boxing Federation secretary general Latif Demolli said that Sadiku had applied for a visa last December only to experience delays.

The IBA expressed its frustration at the host authorities' stance, insisting it had "done everything possible" to ensure Kosovo’s participation in New Delhi.

"IBA stands for sports without borders and out of politics and accepts no discrimination on any basis and will continue to fight for its athletes' rights to compete."

Kosovar world bronze medallist Donjeta Sadiku has been withdrawn from the event in New Delhi despite securing a visa ©IBA
Kosovar world bronze medallist Donjeta Sadiku has been withdrawn from the event in New Delhi despite securing a visa ©IBA

The IBA faced criticism from the International Olympic Committee in October 2021, when it was accused of failing to conduct "necessary due diligence" on the awarding of the Men's World Championships to Serbia's capital Belgrade.

Kosovo's team was refused entry to Serbia on at least three occasions at that event.

New Delhi was awarded hosting rights to the Women's World Championships in November last year.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, and the KOK was recognised by the IOC in 2014.

However, Serbia continues to view Kosovo as an autonomous part of its own country, and there is division in the international community over its recognition.

insidethegames has contacted the Boxing Federation of India and the IBA for comment.