A crucial meeting on India’s bid to return to the Olympic fold "was thrown into doubt Thursday when a senior Indian Olympic Association official objected to the IOC inviting a rival faction to the talks," according to C. Rajshekhar Rao of the AP.
IOA acting President Vijay Kumar Malhotra, who was in charge of consulting with the government over a sports code, said that "he would not attend next Wednesday’s scheduled meeting in Switzerland." In a letter to IOC President Jacques Rogge, Malhotra said, "As the IOC has changed the script for the Lausanne meeting, I want to inform you that I will not be attending the meeting and also hereby withdraw the letter I sent to you on May 3, 2013 naming my delegation" (AP, 5/9). The PTI reported Malhotra and IOC member India Randhir’s decision to boycott the meeting "came a day after the IOC agreed to include Hockey India General Secretary Narinder Batra and Jharkhand Olympic Association R.K. Anand in the IOA delegation for the meeting, in addition to the four-member list submitted earlier." However, the other members of the delegation "will attend the meeting as per schedule." Randhir had also written a letter to the IOC, "expressing his inability to attend the meeting."
When asked why he was skipping the meeting, Randhir said, "It’s an internal matter of the IOC. I will discuss it with the IOC president" (PTI, 5/9).
EXPRESSING DISAPPOINTMENT: The PTI also reported the Indian Sports Ministry on Thursday termed Malhotra’s decision to stay away from the May 15 meeting with the IOC as “disappointing,” but said that the IOA acting chief’s presence "would not have in any case mattered too much." Sports Secretary P. K. Deb said, "I am disappointed. I wish he could reconsider his decision and come for the meeting. However, Malhotra’s presence does not matter too much in any case" (PTI, 5/9). THE HINDU reported the Indian Hockey Federation on Thursday "lodged a strong protest with the IOC for including" Batra and Anand in the IOA delegation for the May 15 meeting. IHF Secretary General Ashok Mathur shot off a letter to Rogge, complaining that Batra "represents a body that stands de-recognised by the Government of India and have only provisional affiliation" with the IOA (THE HINDU, 5/9).
Spain Olympic Committee (COE) President Alejandro Blanco spoke Thursday in Bogotá, Colombia, "where he said the Madrid 2020 bid 'is not a project, but an obsession,'" according to the EFE. Blanco, addressing a forum of the Colombian Olympic Committee, said, "First, it's a dream that becomes an idea, then an idea that becomes a project, and now, it's an obsession." Blanco "trusts that at the IOC session Sept. 7 in Buenos Aires, Madrid will be elected to host the 2020 Olympics in a competition with Istanbul and Tokyo." He said Madrid is solid not only in the financial aspect, but also because the people would value and support the Olympics. Blanco pointed out that 80% of the necessary installations for the Olympics are already prepared. He referenced polls from recent months showing that 76% of Madrid residents and 81% of its residents younger than 35 support the 2020 Olympics taking place in the Spanish capital (EFE, 5/9).
FIGHTING THE WAR: The EFE also reported Blanco assured that doping "is a very difficult war to win," but explained that the country can advance by "winning small battles." Blanco reminded the forum that the COE administered 11,000 drug tests in the past year. He highlighted that only 1.2% of the tests yielded positive results, meaning 98.8% "of the Spanish athletes are clean." Blanco confirmed that one way to combat doping is to make penalties harsher for everyone involved in doping cases, including those who sell, make and consume the drugs. Blanco: "We have to have a conscience that we cannot relax in the fight against doping. It can't be that one person can do so much harm to sport and to health, and laugh at the whole world." Referring to Operation Puerto, it seemed to Blanco "a true embarrassment that someone (referring to Eufemiano Fuentes) had made a business with doping" (EFE, 5/9).
Preliminary government figures revealed that more than 30,000 new jobs "were created last year on the back of the Olympics" as foreign investors poured more than £2.5B ($3.9B) into the U.K., according to Phillip Inman of the London GUARDIAN. British Trade & Investment Minister Stephen Keith Green said that the "boost to inward investment followed efforts by British embassies, which held a series of summits in fast-developing economies linked to the Olympics and Paralympic Games." Green: "The 2012 Olympics were a once in a generation opportunity for the U.K. to showcase to the world Britain's compelling investment offer and these preliminary figures are very encouraging" (GUARDIAN, 5/9).
German Olympic Sports Association (DOSB) President Thomas Bach on Thursday "announced his candidacy for the IOC presidency," according to BILD. Bach said, "Yesterday, I first informed IOC President Jacques Rogge, then the IOC members and today the member organizations of the DOSB of my intentions to submit my candidacy for the IOC presidential elections in June." He added, "Many of my colleagues from the IOC and German sport have reinforced my decision over the past several months." Bach, who is also VP of the IOC, "is deemed to be one of the most promising candidates" (BILD, 5/9). REUTERS' Karolos Grohmann reported the IOC "will elect a new president at its session in Buenos Aires" on Sept. 10 to replace Rogge, whose two-term rule since '01 comes to a mandatory end. Bach, who won fencing Gold at the 1976 Montreal Games, said that "he would inform his fellow members of his specific plans for the presidency after June 10, the deadline for the presidential candidature submissions." Bach, a lawyer by profession and chair of the Ghorfa Arab-German chamber of Commerce and Industry, "could come up against other senior IOC members with possible bids" from fellow VP Ng Ser Miang of Singapore and Puerto Rican Richard Carrion, head of the IOC's Finance Commission. C.K. Wu of Taiwan and Swiss sports administrators Denis Oswald and Rene Fasel "are also seen as potential candidates" along with former pole vault champion Sergei Bubka of Ukraine (REUTERS, 5/9).
MUNICH WORRIES: In Munich, Lisa Sonnabend reported Bach's candidacy "could affect Munich's bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics." Should the IOC "elect a German president, Munich's chances would decline." The reason is the IOC "would most likely not vote twice for Germany." Munich, which lost in '11 against South Korea's PyeongChang to host the 2018 Winter Games, "will decide about a renewed Olympic bid" after the German federal and state elections in September (SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, 5/9).