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Volume 10 No. 24


Two top Indian Olympic Association officials are preparing to leave for Switzerland for a meeting with IOC officials to "plead their case" in the wake of the IOC's decision to propose IOA's suspension in its exec board meeting, according to the PTI. The IOA had sought a meeting of its two representatives -- Narinder Batra and RK Anand -- with the IOC after the world body decided to "propose India for disaffiliation" in an exec board meeting to be held Tuesday and Wednesday. The IOA was under scrutiny for "going ahead with its election process under the government's Sports Code." It is "still unclear what will happen" to the IOA elections if the world body decides to suspend India. The IOC had said in an earlier letter that the IOA elections "held under the government's contentious Sports Code will not be recognised." Hockey India General Secretary Batra said, "We have got the flight tickets for three days from today onward and we will board the flight as soon as we get a confirmation of the meeting from the IOC's side. We have prepared everything to present our case before the IOC officials. We have done our homework and we are hopeful of a favorable result" (PTI, 12/3).

HEAVY SANCTIONS LOOMING: The AFP reported suspension from IOC membership would mean India "would not receive IOC funding and its officials would be banned from attending Olympic meetings and events." India's athletes would also be "barred from competing in the Olympics under the national flag, although the IOC could allow some to take part under the Olympic flag" (AFP, 12/3).

Rugby Sevens "will take centre stage in the main Olympic Stadium" in '16 if a site visit to Rio de Janeiro after Christmas from Int'l Rugby Board CEO Brett Gosper and his technical team goes to plan, according to Brendan Gallagher of the London TELEGRAPH. The Rio organzing committee plans to use a six-day window between the Opening Ceremony and the start of athletics "to showcase the Olympic's newest and most-lucrative addition." Sevens had "originally been earmarked for a revamped Estadio Sao Januario Stadium, which was due to be redeveloped to increase its capacity from 25,000 to around 35,000, however, the private funding has not materialized, and now the committee is keen to "switch rugby to the Olympic Stadium," which will boast a 75,000 capacity. Now "the ball is in the IRB's court, with Gosper and his technical committee having to decide whether the venue ticks all the boxes from rugby's point of view." Gosper said, "At the moment it is more than a hope, the Olympic Stadium has been allocated to us, and we are very excited and flattered by that. It would be fabulous if it happened." Gosper said such a wonderful venue at the Olympics says "major sport, mainstream," straight away for rugby on its return, and it feels like a huge vote of confidence. Logistically there are "a few minor issues that would have to be worked on, although Rugby Sevens is pretty low maintenance." As long as a regulation field of play can be slotted into the infield of the athletic track, "it will scarcely affect the infrastructure needed for the athletics," which is due to start exactly a week after the Opening Ceremony. The turnaround "can be very quick" (TELEGRAPH, 12/3).

A review into the "disappointing performance by Great Britain's swimmers" at the London Olympics has suggested that guidelines be put in place "to limit the athletes' commercial activities in the run-up to major events." The review panel found that British Swimming's program itself was "not broken," but the panel felt that the commercial distractions for individual swimmers "should have been anticipated better" (London INDEPENDENT, 12/3). ... Russian Railways (RZD) "received a first new electric passenger locomotive that will cut the journey time between Moscow and Sochi by more than half" and will be ready for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The EP20 electric passenger train will run at a maximum speed of 200km per hour. Currently it takes 32 hours to travel between the two cities, but the new train will cut the time to 15 hours (INSIDE THE GAMES, 12/1). ... Kuwait said that it has "amended its sports law in response to IOC threats to suspend the Gulf nation because of government interference in the national Olympic committee." No details were immediately given on the decree by Kuwait's emir. But the official Kuwait News Agency quoted the Kuwait Olympic Committee Chair Sheik Ahmad Al Sabah as saying it "ensures" that Kuwaiti athletes can compete under their national flag (AP, 11/27).