'Politicized Prestigious Event': India Hits Out at Pakistan For Withdrawing From Chess Olympiad

© AFP 2023 / ARUN SANKARChildren perform during an event organised ahead of the 44th Chess Olympiad 2022, in Chennai on July 26, 2022.
Children perform during an event organised ahead of the 44th Chess Olympiad 2022, in Chennai on July 26, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.07.2022
Since 2012, bilateral sporting competitions between India and Pakistan have been suspended. However, the two nations have participated in international events, including the Field Hockey World Cup in Odisha in 2018. Things seem to have changed once again, as the Pakistani contingent pulled out of the Chess Olympiad in Chennai this week.
On Thursday, India launched a scathing attack on Pakistan for withdrawing from the Chess Olympiad in Chennai at the 11th hour, calling out Islamabad for "politicizing" the high-profile international event in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) labeled Pakistan's decision as "surprising" because they had already sent their team to India to participate in the tournament.

"It is highly unfortunate that Pakistan has politicized the prestigious international event by making such statements and withdrawing its participation after its team has already reached India," MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in a press conference in New Delhi.

Meanwhile, Pakistan accused India of trying to make a political statement with the conduct of the Chess Olympiad for its decision to boycott the event in Tamil Nadu.
The International Chess Federation (FIDE) sent an invite to Pakistan to take part in the competition, which began at the Sheraton Mahabalipuram Resort and Convention Center in Mahabalipuram on July 28. Pakistan chose to recall its contingent from the event on the premise that the competition's torch was taken to Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir.
The administration of parts of Kashmir is disputed between India and Pakistan and both Delhi and Islamabad claim the region in its entirety.
"Pakistan condemns India's mischievous attempt to mix politics with sports. As a protest, Pakistan has decided not to participate in the 44th Chess Olympiad and will also raise the matter with the International Chess Federation at the highest level," the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The Chess Olympiad was originally slated to be hosted by Russia before being moved to India after sanctions were slapped on Moscow over the special military operation in Ukraine.
A record number of 188 teams are appearing in the tournament, which will run until August 10.
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