New Delhi: Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken Wednesday said his ministry had never thought of pulling Indian athletes out of the 2012 London Olympics over Dow Chemicals` sponsorship of the Games, though it is in constant touch with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on the issue keeping in mind the Bhopal gas victims.
"We have not thought of pulling the athletes out of the London Games. We are monitoring the issue and we have conveyed our concerns to the IOC on Dow`s sponsorship bearing in mind the sentiments of the people," said Maken on the sidelines of the launch of the website `Opex London 2012` which provides comprehensive information on the training and funding of athletes.
"Our athletes are preparing hard for the Olympics," he added.
The minister also refuted the allegation by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) that the government is indulging in double standards on Dow`s sponsorship.
The IOA wanted the government to spell out its stand on the Dow issue. IOA`s acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra had said the Sports Ministry was not even acknowledging their letters.
"We have sent three letters to the IOA, on the 5th, 13th and 14th December, concerning the Dow issue. If the media does not believe, they are free to come to our office and get copies of the letters," Maken said.
The Sports Minister said when the government took up the Dow issue with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), it was pointed out that the IOA had not raised any objection when the sponsorship was finalised in July 2010 and also that the national Olympic committee itself did business with the company during the Commonwealth Games.
"During our presentation through diplomatic channels, LOCOG raised two key objections to our raising the Dow issue. First they asked why the IOA had not raised the Dow issue when the agreement was finalised in July 2010, and second how could the IOA object when it had done business with the company during the 2010 Commonwealth Games," he said.