GBM to decide IOA`s future steps on Dow issue

New Delhi: The IOA will put forth the sentiments of the people of India against Dow Chemical, one of London Games sponsors, but how to do it will be decided by the General Body of the apex sports body, its secretary general Randhir Singh said on Monday.

Randhir indicated that the IOA would not boycott the 2012 London Olympics as demanded by 1984 Bhopal gas leak case protesters and some Olympians but said it would let the International Olympic Council (IOC) know about the strong protests from sections of Indian people.

"The sentiments of the people should be put forth. We cannot ignore them. We have informed the IOC of the protests in India (about Dow Chemical being a sponsor)," Randhir, also an IOC member, told reporters in New Delhi.

"IOA president has issued a statement in this issue. But the final decision and modality of how to put forth the sentiments of people will be taken at the General Body Meeting on December 15-16. We will write to IOC if need be," Randhir said when asked about the growing demand that India should boycott the London Games if Dow remains a sponsor.

IOA acting president V K Malhotra has recently said that it was not considering boycotting the London Games but will make it be known to the IOC about the protests in India in the Dow Chemical issue.

Randhir refused to comment on London Olympics Organising Committee Sebastian Coe`s defence of Dow`s association as well top shooter Gagan Narang`s comments that an Olympic boycott will only hurt the athletes.

"I don`t want to comment on this," he said after a meeting of the Arjuna Awardees Association.

Asked about IOC chief Jacques Rogge`s comments that India should talk to the athletes first before thinking of boycotting the Olympics, Randhir said, "Gagan Narang has expressed his view and we are talking to the athletes."

Randhir denied that he had decided to step down from the post of IOA Secretary General next year to set an example to the long-serving officials in the national sports federations in the wake of the controversial Sports Bill, saying that he just felt he should give way to younger people.

"My stepping down has nothing to do with the Sports Bill. I will continue to be IOC member and support the Olympic Charter.”

"When I was a shooter I wanted to do something for the country and so I became an administrator. And now I feel that it is time for me to give way to others. I will be 69 and some younger people should take up my job," said Randhir, who has been IOA Secretary General since 1987 and IOC member from 2001.

Randhir also informed about the steps taken by the IOA to ensure athletes` participation in decision making of IOA and National Sports Federations.

"One representative from Arjuna Awardees Association and one from the Olympic Association of India -- which was formed today -- will be included in the IOA Executive Body. And the IOA Constitution has been amended so that two current athletes have voting rights in the IOA," he said.

"The monitoring committee will also have one member from NSFs and one athlete. We are taking steps so that athletes are involved in the decision making. We have brought lots of changes in this direction in the last five years," he said.

Meanwhile, a 29-member ad hoc committee was formed to give more teeth to Arjuna Awardees Association after the incumbent officials decided to step down.

"An ad hoc committee was formed today after we have exchange of ideas on how to make the association more active. It has become a fairly redundant body except for the last five to seven years," outgoing president and former Indian cricket captain Bishen Singh Bedi said.

"It was an ad hoc body when it was formed after the 1982 Asian Games. The idea is that we should work more actively for the betterment of Arjuna Awardees," he said.

Bedi said Dow Chemical issue was not discussed and he also refused to give his personal opinion on the matter.

Bedi, however, supported the Sports Bill piloted by Sports Minister Ajay Maken and hoped that it would be passed by the Parliament.

"The Sports Bill should see the light of the day. The Right to Information in the Bill is a important provision. Considering the state of sports management in the country, RTI is a must," he said.


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