When sports and corruption join hands it leads to catastrophe, causing distress to the athletes who put their heart and soul in the sport. Suresh Kalmadi abdicated his President’s post in the Indian Olympic Association, a post he held for 16 years, after he was alleged with corruption charges. After he stepped down, Abhay Singh Chautala and Randhir Singh decided to contest for the posts on the committee.
A lot of information has been reveled since then, even this, that the top officials were elected unopposed, much before the poll date.
Most controversial is the return of Lalit Bhanot to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), as the new secretary general, and it has raised many questions across the country calling the election futile.
Now stuck with tainted officials India’s suspension from the Olympic movement is to be known in the near future, but can India escape the ban is hard to say. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has its meeting set in Lausanne on December 4th and 5th. At the meeting it will be decided if India should be suspended for breaking the Olympic agreement in its election process, as reported by AFP.
The IOA has been asked by Delhi court to hold the elections as per the government sports code, but instead the IOC wanted it to abide by the Olympic treaty which favours autonomy.
The association elected Lalit Bhanot after the IOC member Randhir Singh removed his name from the contest, leaving Lalit Bhanot unopposed to be elected as the IOA’s secretary general.
Bhanot was released on bail after being in custody for 11 months last year over corruption charges during the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi, when he was at the same position of secretary general of the organising committee.
In October the IOC Ethics Commission warned the Indian committee against keeping Bhanot or IOA’s former head Suresh Kalmadi, who is also out on bail over corruption allegations.
About Bhanot contesting elections Chautala said there is nothing wrong with it as Bhanot hasn’t been convicted. Chautala said, “Many people have cases pending against them, but they can’t be called guilty till the courts say so.” He added, “Bhanot has every right to contest, “as reported by AFP.
Chautala informed that at the Executive Board meeting in Lausanne two of the IOA members had been deputed to meet the IOC representatives before the probable poll against India.
India’s suspension from IOC membership means India would not receive IOC funding and its members would be banned from attending Olympic events and meetings.
The Indian athletes would be excluded from competing in the Olympics bearing the national flag. However, the IOC probably would allow them to take part under the Olympic flag.
Abhinav Bindra, India’s lone individual Olympic gold medalist spoke after seeing Bhanot elected as the IOA secretary general. He said that it makes his ‘blood boil.’ He further said, “It’s about politics and stooping to a new low,” as reported the AFP. He finds it agonizing to see such people taken back.
However he claimed, “If our Olympic association is banned, it could be a blessing in disguise. With no multi-sport event in 2013, Indian athletes could… unite to change the present system.”
Clean Sports India (CSI), an organization formed by former sportspersons hoping corruption free sports administration has also supported the IOC’s terms.
Morad Ali Khan, CSI official and former shooter said “If medicines do not work, it needs a surgery,” he added, “IOC’s threat of suspension is a surgery for the Indian sporting system,” as reported by AFP.
The ban for India from Olympics will be no doubt embarrassing. However, with no multi disciplinary actions in 2013 some feel that this step could be a better opportunity for a clean-up process in the Indian sports league.