Indian Olympic Association President Vijay Kumar Malhotra To Boycott IOC Meeting
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).