Conscious of the challenges confronting the Olympic Movement in India, N. Ramachandran, the incoming President of the Indian Olympic Association, (IOA), said that lifting of the ban by IOC would revitalise Indian sport.
In an exclusive interview with The Hindu from New Delhi, the IOA chief expressed the hope that IOC would do that very soon.
You face a lot of challenges now. What is your first priority?
My priority will be to see the ban lifted as quickly as possible. I believe the IOC observers at the IOA elections on Sunday will give a positive report for the IOC Executive.
Will this happen before the close of Sochi Winter Games?
There is a strong possibility of this meeting coming up before the closing ceremony at Sochi. I am reasonably confident that we will get a good verdict.
What are the challenges confronting you that would get top attention?
My main aim is to give the athletes of the national federations best assistance in their preparations for the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. The National Federations get their financial support from the Government and corporate sponsors. But let me assure you, the IOA will go out of its way to do its bit… I am already in touch with a few corporate houses. It will be on a case to case basis.
There is a need to restructure or reinvigorate the dormant State Olympic Associations to play a more constructive role. Do you agree it should also be a priority?
This matter is to be debated by our Executive. We will have to look into this carefully. The State Olympic Associations need to be funded to carry on their activities. The IOA will have to look into this aspect also.
What about factionalism and dissensions within the national federations? Quite a few have persisting problems for years on end.
This again is a ticklish problem. These are dissimilar problems and need to be examined case-by-case. There cannot be a single solution good enough for all federations.
How do you see the importance of National Games?
I back them 100 per cent. The next will be in Kerala. Even today, the officials of Kerala Government met me. Once the ban is lifted, we will go all out to make the Games a success. I will visit Kerala to assess the preparations.
Do you envisage creating a Judicial Commission to handle the controversial issues affecting the IOA?
This is again a ticklish issue which I do not want to comment on. We may have to take guidance from IOC.
What about IOA’s relationship with OCA?
We have no issues. Once the ban goes, all our privileges will be restored.
Do you still see some dissensions within the IOA?
You see, IOA is a democratic body, perhaps the largest among the NOC’s affiliated to IOC. There will be different view points and we will have to deal with them.
What will be IOA’s role in fighting doping? Will you set up a separate commission?
We are very concerned about doping … fully co-operate with WADA. As for a separate committee, we will have to look into it.
What is your message to the sports fraternity?
I believe in securing a bright future for IOA and work whole-heartedly to create the right atmosphere for our athletes to perform in the Commonwealth and Asian Games. The Government and the corporate units will also have to play a major role in this endeavour.