|Athletes like Sushil Kumar, flagbearer and silver medallist in London, are the ones who will really be affected by the decision
Barely four months after Indian athletes amassed the nation’s biggest medal haul at London Olympics, according to media reports, the International Olympic Council (IOC) has suspended Indian Olympic Association (IOA) citing government interference in the Indian body’s election process.
Two officials in the know of the decision, told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity that the IOC executive board has imposed the sanction during its ongoing two-day meet in Lausanne, Switzerland. Suspension means the Indian body will stop receiving IOC funding and its officials will be banned from attending Olympic meetings and events.
India’s athletes will be barred from competing in Olympic events under their national flag, although the IOC could allow them to do so under the Olympic flag. Indian athletes had won six medals — 2 silver and 4 bronze — in London. When contacted, IOC spokesman Mark Adams told Mirror: “We cannot announce anything until we have communicated with the NOCs (National Olympic Committees) involved.”
The IOC had repeatedly told the Indian body to adhere to its own constitution and the Olympic Charter, and not follow the government’s sports code for this week’s elections. The IOC will not recognize the results if the elections are held under government rules.
The Indians have been mired in wrangling over the elections to replace Suresh Kalmadi, who was jailed for nine months on corruption charges related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. Kalmadi, who headed the IOA for 16 years, decided not to seek re-election.
The election, originally scheduled for last month, has been postponed to Wednesday following the resignation of election commission chairman S Y Quraishi. On Friday, the IOA announced the appointment of some officials to posts which were not contested in the elections.
Appointed as secretary general was Lalit Bhanot, who is also facing graft charges relating to the Commonwealth Games. Indian Sports Minister Jitendra Singh called the IOC decision “very unfortunate, more so for sports persons”. “I’m only concerned about the sports persons, am waiting for de tails,” he told Times Now.
Abhey Singh Chautala, who is unopposed for election as IOA president, told reporters in New Delhi that a suspension would be a “one-sided decision”. “We had written to them, asking them to give some time to our twomember committee to tell them about our position,” he said.
“They’ve not listened to our side. We will go to IOC again and explain to them how elections were carried out here.” India earns the dubious distinction among a handful of countries which have faced suspension from the world sports governing body.
South Africa had been suspended for its apartheid policy while Kuwait faced the same fate for government interference before it was re-admitted after the Gulf country’s Olympic body amended its constitution. The Netherlands Antilles and South Sudan were also banned for not forming their national Olympic Committees.
► They’ve not listened to our side. We will go to IOC again and explain to them how elections were carried out here
- Abhey Singh Chautala IOA President-elect
What they said
► It’s very unfortunate. I’m only concerned about the sports persons, am waiting for details
- Jitendra Singh, Union Sports Minister
► I am absolutely shocked by this news. I don't know how the matter was handled by the higher authorities. But it is the athletes who will suffer if the situation is not resolved quickly
- MC Mary Kom, London Games bronze medallist
The dubious club
Suspended for: Apartheid policy In 1964, the IOC banned South Africa from participating in the Olympics, a ruling that lasted until 1992. White and black athletes were barred from competing against one another in SA at the time.
The netherlands antilles
Suspended for: not forming National Olympic Committees (NOC) The Netherlands Antilles Olympic Committee (NAOC) lost its Olympic license in July 2011 following the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, a constituent country of the Netherlands, in 2010.
Suspended for: not forming National Olympic Committees (NOC) South Sudan don’t possess an official Olympics organization as yet. One
South Sudanese athlete Guor Marial competed in the 2012 Games under the Olympic flag.
Kuwait faced the same fate for government interference before it was re-admitted after the Gulf country’s Olympic body amended its constitution.