Urging the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to sort out its differences with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) through negotiations, Sports Minister Jitendra Singh on Wednesday asked the administrators to put national interest first to ensure that the ban on India is revoked at the earliest.

“The government of India urges all concerned to ensure that individual interests should not come in the way of our national interest and good of sports. At the same time, the government places highest emphasis on the standards of ethics and good governance as per the Olympic Charter,” said Jitendra Singh in a release.

“We hope that a solution to the impasse between the IOC and the IOA will be found during the general body meeting of the IOA, which is to be held on the 25th August,” said Mr. Jitendra.

The IOC had sent the revised draft Constitution of the IOA, which envisaged barring of corruption-tainted persons from contesting IOA elections. The IOA had objected to this provision saying that the Indian law would prevail on these matters.

But the IOC last week refused to change its stance on barring chargesheeted persons from contesting IOA elections, saying that entertaining the Indian body’s objections would amount to undermining the Olympic Charter.

Asked if some people were trying to hijack India’s return to Olympics, Mr. Jitendra said, “I would not say anything about individuals. It’s very sad and I feel upset about it. I think national interest has to be foremost,” he said.

“As Sports Minister and a sportsperson my first and foremost task is to ensure that Indian sportspersons compete under the national flag. Our collective dream is to ensure that we listen, multiple times to the Indian national anthem at Rio 2016 when India wins gold medals.

“As a former national medallist, I understand the pain and the hard work that it takes to excel in sports. It is the aspiration of every sportsperson to have the honour to compete under the national flag and in my opinion the greatest disservice that one can do to sports is to deny a deserving sportsperson the honour of competing under the national flag,” said Jitendra.

“I won’t leave any stone unturned in making sure that our sportsmen get their due and can take part in international event under the Indian flag,” he added.

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