Lobbying on after organisers limit number of officials

Updated: Jul 25, 2012, 18:35 PM IST

London: Hectic lobbying has been going on within the Indian contingent and the IOA after the London Olympic Games organisers imposed limit on the number of officials in the opening ceremony parade.

All the National Sports Federations whose athletes have qualified for the Olympics are eager to take part in the opening ceremony parade.

The strict quota for all national contingents imposed for the first time in Olympic history, has caused heartburn among most national contingents, and several countries have protested against this at meetings, which the organisers held with participating nations.

An official said that the Indian contingent had been given a quota of six officials at the parade, leading to intense lobbying among the sports chiefs.

The Indian official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said, "Several key officials in the NSFs want to be a part of the opening ceremony parade. They are the ones exerting the most pressure."

He said persistent requests are being made by the officials but there was little the Indian management could do if the limit was not raised by the London Olympics organisers.

"Appeals for increasing the quota have been made by several countries and they are under consideration, but nothing has been heard thereafter," the official said.

Earlier, all accredited athletes, coaches and support staff, besides the officials were allowed to take part in the opening ceremony.

It occasionally caused situations where the athletes were outnumbered by officials and support staff, especially as several sportspersons whose events were to start in the next few days preferred to stay in the Olympic Village.

The athletes often do that to avoid the tiredness caused by taking part in the opening ceremony as it involves long hours of wait before the parade.

India, too, has faced this situation in the past.

At the London Olympics also, several sportspersons like shooters and archers whose events are scheduled in the initial few days, will stay away, despite their desire of taking part in the ceremony.

In fact, athletes of some disciplines have not yet checked in but the officials have already arrived in London.

India is not the only one affected by this mandate, and fervent appeals have been made to change this or increase the quota based on the size of the contingent.

Contingents from several countries are waiting for the organisers to take a decision on this.

PTI