India returns to Olympic fold

Last Updated: Feb 11, 2014, 11:58 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Two days after the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) successfully conducted its elections, the International Olympic Committee has lifted India`s 14-month old ban from Olympics.

The news comes after fresh elections declared World Squash Federation President, younger brother of BCCI chief N Srinivasan, Ramachandran as president of IOA.

The IOC had hinted recently that India could be brought back to the Olympic fold after the IOA elections. IOC President Thomas Bach had hinted India`s return even before the Winter Olympics which began in Sochi if the IOA held its elections before the Games.

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Three Indians could not take part in the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics under the tri-colour due to India`s suspension by the IOC and the IOA had to draw flak from all quarters for bringing shame on the country.

Having blatantly violated the IOC`s diktats on more than one occasion throughout last year, the IOA was finally left with no option but to amend its constitution as per the world body`s directives following an ultimatum that it would de-recognise India if the "charge-framed" persons are not barred from contesting polls.

De-recognition would mean that India cannot be a part of the Olympic Movement and the country`s sportspersons would not be allowed to take part in any international event.

It all started 14 months ago when on December 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 refused to recognise Abhay Singh Chautala and his team of office bearers.

The IOC later proposed a meeting with the IOA and government representatives but maintained that the Indian body must hold its elections solely under Olympic Charter to return to the Olympic fold.

After three postponements and controversy over the participation of two members representing the suspended IOA, the meeting took place on May 15 last at Lausanne, Switzerland with Sports Minister Jitendra Singh and Beijing Olympics gold winner shooter Abhinav Bindra attending it.

The IOC issued the roadmap for India`s return to the Olympic fold, asking IOA to amend its constitution before July 15 and elect new office bearers by September 1 last, both under the supervision of the world body.

On August 15 last year, IOC stated that tainted persons will no longer be eligible to contest IOA elections.

But, a defiant IOA refused to implement the provision, saying that it had to follow the law of the land.

The IOA even proposed to dilute the contentious clause, saying the chargesheet clause must apply only to convicted persons.

But the IOC shot down any compromise formula and asked the IOA to sack "charge-framed" officials through constitutional amendments by October 31 and conduct fresh elections by December 15 last.

The IOC later agreed to IOA`s proposal to hold elections on February 9 after IOA agreed to bar charge-framed persons from contesting the polls.

With Agency inputs