Crucial IOC meeting today for India`s Olympics return
New Delhi: Armed with a concrete action plan, India`s sports administrators will hold a crucial meeting with the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne today to draw a roadmap for the country`s return to the Olympic fold.
The meeting assumes great importance for India`s sporting future as it would be the first time that IOC and IOA sit down for discussion, a good five months after the country was suspended for failing to adhere to the Olympic charter.
While the delegates are optimistic of a favourable outcome, some other sports administrators are not too hopeful of any fruitful result from the meeting, pointing out that the IOA was still not united on many issues.
The run-up to the meeting has already been marred by the dramatic pullout of IOA Acting President V K Malhotra and IOC Member in India, Randhir Singh.
The two decided to boycott the meeting 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.
The meeting will also be attended by Sports Minister Jitendra Singh, Sports Secretary P K Deb, Beijing Olympics gold-medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra and Olympian sailor Malav Shroff.
Randhir`s absence will, however, have a major impact since he has significant clout in the power corridors of the IOC.
On the eve of the meeting, the Sports Ministry`s role in trying to create a quick patchwork with the suspended IOA officials has also come under the scanner.
Clean Sports India, a movement for corruption-free sports in the country, has alleged that Sports Secretary P K Deb is "hand in gloves" with suspended IOA officials like Abhay Singh Chautala and Lalit Bhanot and has raised questions about the meetings that they had.
CSI also wanted a hard roadmap for India`s return with emphasis on good governance, ethics and a bar on tainted officials from occupying important positions.
Meanwhile, the Olympic Council of Asia has also spoken on the matter, backing Randhir and Malhotra. In a letter to IOC chief Jacques Rogge, OCA has urged the world body to meet only the Sports Ministry officials.
"I would suggest that on May 15, 2013, the meeting takes place only between the IOC and the government of India delegation headed the Minister, wherein they should be clearly informed that adherence to the Olympic Charter is of paramount importance and any government guideline and amendment to the IOA constitution should be in lien with the Olympic Charter," said OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.
The OCA suggested another meeting in mid June which would also include its representatives to end the deadlock.
All the IOA delegates as well as the Sports Ministry officials have already reached Lausanne for the meeting.
"We are hopeful that a positive result will come out from the meeting. We want to remove all the misgivings and the wrong perceptions the IOC has about the IOA and the recent elections", Tarlochan Singh, one of the IOA delegates, told PTI.
The joint meeting will be from 9 am to 12 noon (local time). It would be followed by the Sports Ministry delegation making a courtesy call to IOC President Jacques Rogge between 12 to 12:45 pm followed by the IOA delegation, which would get just 15 minutes starting 12:45 with the IOC chief.