Former athletes urge IOC to sort out India mess

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April 12, 2013

Some major athletes from India have asked the International Olympic Committee to send a team to resolve the country's suspension. The IOC suspended the Indian Olympic Association on Dec. 5 for conducting illegal elections and the election of tainted officials.

April 12, 2013

Some major athletes from India have asked the International Olympic Committee to send a team to resolve the country's suspension. The IOC suspended the Indian Olympic Association on Dec. 5 for conducting illegal elections and the election of tainted officials.

A group of prominent athletes fighting for better administration of sports in India has asked the International Olympic Committee to send a team to resolve the country's suspension.

"We've written to the IOC about the latest developments and requested them to send a team to assess the situation," Clean Sports India vice president Ashwini Nachappa told The Associated Press on Thursday. "Officials here are trying to mislead the IOC and there is no justification in what they say. They're only employing delaying tactics."

The IOC suspended the Indian Olympic Association on Dec. 5 for conducting illegal elections and the election of tainted officials.

It then asked the IOA to liaise with government officials and set a meeting date with the IOC, but the proposed meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, has not materialized.

Former IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra, who has been corresponding with the IOC since the new body was not recognized, wrote to the world body last week saying the government did not seem interested in a solution.

"While we endorsed your move for a dialogue involving the government, it has gone ahead and constituted a committee to re-draft the controversial sports bill, which is in total breach of the Olympic charter," Malhotra wrote to the IOC.

Sports minister Jitender Singh reacted with disappointment on Wednesday, saying Malhotra was only trying to delay the meeting with IOC.

"I will appeal to the IOA to quickly fix the dates. If they are not going, then (someone from) the ministry will or I will personally go there and speak to the IOC," Jitendra said.

The sports code puts an age restriction of 70 years on officials while Malhotra is already past 80. It also puts a cap of three tenures for the main office-bearers but Malhotra has been the president of the Archery Association of India for more than three decades.

Nachappa said the sports bill was inevitable and that long-serving officials should look beyond their personal interests.

"I think the ministry is clear about having the code. That code is being drafted out with good representation from all stake holders. I feel the IOC has taken cognizance of that and trying to give them a wrong impression will not help," Nachappa said. "This is the only time to do it right. Even if it takes a long time, it will be good for Indian sports."

The IOA had cited a Delhi High Court order in conducting its polls according to the sports code even though the IOC had asked it to follow its own constitution while meeting an election deadline. Though the IOC does not want government interference, it is not opposed to the Indian body re-drafting its constitution in line with the code, which is based on the IOC's own constitution.

The IOC's ethics commission had also advised that tainted officials shouldn't hold administrative posts, but Lalit Bhanot was declared elected unopposed as the new secretary-general despite spending 11 months in jail for corruption cases related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

Suresh Kalmadi, who headed the IOA for 16 years, decided not to seek re-election after graft charges relating to the Commonwealth Games but backed new president Abhey Chautala and Bhanot.

An Olympic ban means a national federation is not eligible for funding from the IOC. Officials from the suspended federation can't attend meetings and athletes can compete only under the Olympic flag.


Courtesy: AP