IOA Pledges To Follow Olympic Charter In Upcoming Election
The Indian Olympic Association "has pledged firm commitment to Olympic Charter and to fight against government interference in the wake of its parent body's threat of disaffiliation if it goes ahead with its upcoming elections under sports ministry guidelines," according to the PTI. IOA acting President V.K. Malhotra has written to the IOC that Wednesday's elections are being held under IOA Constitution "as none of the nominations have been rejected under government's Sports Code." Malhotra said, "The election commission has informed me that none of the nominations have been rejected on account of government guidelines. All the nominations have been filed strictly and scrutinised in accordance with the Constitution of Indian Olympic Association. Kindly be assured that the autonomy of the IOA shall be preserved and protected and no interference of any economic, political angle shall be permitted" (PTI, 12/1).
THE ATHLETES SPEAK UP: The PTI added that Clean Sports India, a movement for corruption-free sports in the country, has also written to the IOC and "apprised the apex body about the gross violation of ethics by the office-bearers of IOA" ahead of the upcoming election. CSI joint convener Reeth Abraham, in her letter to IOC President Jacques Rogge, "described how a hoard of unethical persons are set to lead India's Olympic movement." Abraham, also a former athlete, said that the situation "is going from bad to worse as tainted sports administrators like Abhay Singh Chautala and Lalit Bhanot are set to take over the reigns of IOA" after the polls close (PTI, 12/1). The AFP noted India's sole individual Olympic Gold Medalist Abhinav Bindra lashed out at the country's sports officials saying an Olympic ban could be a "blessing in disguise." Bindra said, "The current mess is completely of the Indian Olympic Association's making." IOA elections "have become a formality after a rival group led by IOC member Randhir Singh withdrew from the contest last week," leaving tainted sports official Bhanot elected unopposed as secretary general while state politician Chautala became president. Bhanot "is out on bail" following 11 months in jail last year over corruption charges. Bindra said, "It's about politis and stooping to a new low. How can he return? It is agonising to see such people coming back. It makes my blood boil" (AFP, 12/2).