Zeenews Sports Bureau
New Delhi: While the government termed the suspension of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) as an avoidable “unfortunate” incident, athletes - though disappointed - have unanimously termed the suspension as an opportunity to clean up the sports body.
Shooter Abhinav Bindra, India`s sole individual gold medallist at the Olympics, tweeted: "Bye Bye IOA, hope to see u again soon, hopefully cleaner!"
Veteran tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi had this to say: "So I got banned, now the IOA gets banned, they say things like these normally happen in three`s. Wonder what`s next!!"
Boxer MC Mary Kom, who won a bronze at the London Olympics, said it would be difficult for her to compete without knowing the fate of Indian sports.
"I do not know much about this (suspension). I don`t have a good feeling about this. I will not be able to give my 100 percent without the Indian flag," said Mary Kom, suggesting India`s possible exclusion from the major sporting events.
Even as the athletes worry about their future, the government chose to put the blame on the Indian Olympic Association for India`s suspension by the International Olympic Committee. With the suspension, India is now in a dubious list that includes Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.
Sports Minister Jitendra Singh said, “The Indian Olympic Association is to blame for the current crisis. We told the IOA many times to amend its constitution and be compliant with the international rules."
Jitendra said that there was no conflict between the government`s Sports Code and the Olympic Charter and the "unfortunate" incident could have been avoided had the IOA amended its Constitution.
"The decision to suspend India was an unfortunate one. But it could have been avoided had the IOA amended its constitution. It is absolutely false to say that Sports Code was the reason behind India`s suspension. There is no conflict between the Sports Code and Olympic Charter," he told a news channel.
He said it was "unfortunate how politicians at the helm of the IOA have handled the affairs of the body".
Former IOA secretary general Randhir Singh said that the IOC`s decision to ban the Indian Olympic Association gives an "opportunity" to clean the mess, and insisted that the international body is not against the country but against the system.
"The mess that is happening today in the Olympic committee needs to be cleaned up. I think what we are heading for now with this suspension is that it gives an opportunity to clean the mess," Randhir said.
"Let me tell you IOC is not anti-India, it is against the system," he added.
Asked about newly-elected IOA president Abhay Singh Chautala`s comment that Radhir was resposible for the mess in the sports body, the latter said, "I don`t like to discuss anybody. For me fighting for the post doesn`t matter. I will move away, tell him also to move away. Let us resign, let us say he is no more.
"He is proclaiming himself as the IOA president on what basis. On an election which the international committee doesn`t approve to," he said.
"You have been told that you can`t hold this election, and if you hold you are not going to be recognised then which presidentship is he talking about. Which governing body or election is he talking about who are going to pass a resolution against me. It doesn`t matter, India is suspended. he should wake up, it`s all over," he added.
Randhir suggested that the mess could be cleaned up if the government, IOC and IOA sit together and sort out the matter. "The IOA has to have the will."
With PTI inputs