Kosovo’s boxing federation said Serbia had stopped its team entering the country to take part in the amateur world championships. Kosovo had planned to send three competitors to the Oct. 24-Nov. 6 AIBA championships. The boxers tried to cross the border with Serbia on Saturday but were asked not to wear their sports uniforms featuring their country’s logo. A repeat attempt on Sunday also failed despite efforts from the International Boxing Association, according to the Kosovo federation’s secretary general Latif Demolli.
Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s independence. Kosovo was a Serbian province before it declared independence in 2008. That followed fighting in 1998-1999 between Serbian troops and ethnic Albanian separatists, which ended after a NATO air campaign against Serbian forces.
AIBA said in a statement that it had contacted Serbian boxing authorities and was trying to resolve the issue, adding it aimed to provide a welcoming home for every boxer, and the world of boxing has no borders.
We believe that all athletes must receive a fair chance to compete and demonstrate their best abilities in the ring," the AIBA statement said.
“Sport is intended to unite people and should be free of national politics.