NEW DELHI - The International Olympic Committee (IOC) welcomed the country back into the fold within days of fresh elections in the scam-riddled IOA.“The IOC Executive Board (EB) reinstated the...
“The IOC observers told the EB members that the elections were held in full respect of the recently passed NOC constitution, which complies with all IOC requirements, including the clause that no person convicted or charge-framed can run for a position within the organisation,” the IOC stated. As a result of the IOC’s decisions, the Indian athletes will now be able to compete under the national flag at international events. They had been competing as independent athletes ever since the IOA was slapped with a suspension for failing to comply with the Olympic Charter and its statutes, relating specifically to good governance.
The most immediate effect of this would be seen at the ongoing Winter Olympics in Sochi, where the Indians would now be allowed to carry the tri-colour during the closing ceremony after parading through the opening ceremony under an IOC flag.
“It is the first time in Olympic history that a suspension of an NOC has been lifted during an Olympic Games, and the decision will have an immediate impact. Indian athletes entered the Sochi Games under the Olympic flag during the Opening Ceremony on 7 February 2014, and have competed as Independent Olympic Participants,” the IOC said. “The EB decision means they can now compete for the National Olympic Committee of India and will walk behind their national flag at the Closing Ceremony on 23 February. To symbolically mark the lifting of the suspension and in recognition of the three Indian athletes competing in Sochi, the Indian flag will be raised in the Olympic Village,” it added. At the elections held on Feb 10, All India Tennis Association (AITA) chief Anil Khanna was elected Treasurer which marked the exit of corruption-tainted Abhay Singh Chautala and Lalit Bhanot from the IOA. Chautala and Bhanot had been adamantly trying to fight the elections despite teh IOC’s strong objections but the duo ultimately bowed under pressure when the world body threatened to permanently bar India from the Olympic movement. It all started 14 months ago when on Dec 4, 2012, the IOC suspended the IOA for adhering to the government’s Sports Code and for allowing tainted persons to take part in the election process. In an act of defiance, IOA went ahead with the polls next day. The world body hit back by refusing to recognise Chautala and his team of office-bearers. (PTI)