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Indian Officials fight to get back in the Games

Apr 12, 2013, 11:35 AM EDT

The Hindu The Hindu

The Indian Olympic Association was suspended from the Games by the IOC last year after they allowed Lalit Bhanot, an official facing corruption charges stemming from the 2010 Commonwealth Games, to be elected secretary general.

The suspension not only means that no Indian athlete can participate in the Olympics, eliminates funding from the world body, and barrs officials attending from attending the Games.

IOA officials had planned a meeting with the IOC in Switzerland to iron out the final details of a billl that would get the country readmitted into the Games, but now acting IOA president Vijay Kumar Malhotra is trying to cancel the meeting in order to retain his position in the Association.

Basically Malhotra would lose his position immediately when the bill passed, because he’s 83-years-old and the new laws would state that officials have to retire at 70. He believes this is political interference.

“We are rather constrained to say that the sports ministry is bent on destroying the autonomy of the IOA and the national sports federations,” Malhotra wrote in an open letter to IOC president Jacques Rogge.

He also called the bill a “total breach of the Olympic Charter” but Sports Minister Jitendra Singh said Wednesday that he’ll take it upon himself to make sure the country gets back in the Games.

“I am deeply shocked and upset by the contents of the letter…” Singh told reporters. “If the IOA is not interested in fixing a date with the IOC, I will personally go to Lausanne and speak to them. India has to get back into the Olympic fold.”

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