Sports Minister Jitendra Singh on Tuesday said India’s 14-month exile from the Olympic movement has come as a blessing in disguise as the hiatus forced the country to clean up the system.

“In the last one year or so the sportspersons, sports lovers have raised their concerns and their voices. The Government of India had raised its voice in Lausanne (in May last year) and at other forums for lifting the ban on India.

“What we have been able to achieve in the last one year or so of exile is that a major step has been taken to clean up sports,” Mr. Jitendra said here.

He congratulated both the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and International Olympic Council (IOC) for bringing India back into the Olympic movement.

Mr. Jitendra applauded IOA’s decision to amend its Constitution to bar charge-framed persons from contesting its elections held on last Sunday.

“I am thankful that this historic step has been taken and charge-framed people would not be able to contest the elections. Along with that, I would like to add that majority of the National Sports Federations, except archery and boxing, have adopted the sports code,” he said.

“The Government of India is committed to bring in transparency, good governance in the field of sports. I am very happy that our sportspersons will be able to contest under the Indian flag,” he added.

Highlighting the Government’s role in bringing India back into the Olympic movement, the Sports Minister said his ministry could play a more active role in cleaning up sports in future.

“The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports had first raised with the IOC that the IOA constitution needed amendment and the people who are charge-sheeted should not be allowed to contest elections,” Mr. Jitendra said.

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