The suspended Indian Olympic Association (IOA) amended its constitution and successfully held its elections here on Sunday, taking the first steps to returning to the international fold.
World Squash Federation president N. Ramachandran was unanimously named as the new president of the IOA in the elections held in the presence of three observers from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) — Pere Miró, IOC Director of NOC Relations, Jérôme Poivey, Head of Institutional Relations in the NOC Relations Department, and Robin Mitchell, head of the IOC delegation.
“The IOC delegation is satisfied with this meeting here today. We will be in Sochi by tomorrow evening and are hopeful of a favourable report to the IOC Executive Board. A final decision on reinstating India will be taken soon, most likely on February 23,” Mitchell said.
Indian athletes at the ongoing Winter Olympics in Sochi are participating under the Olympic flag. However, it is unlikely that the Indians will be able to march under the tricolour during the closing of the Games.
Most of the office-bearers, including secretary general Rajeev Mehta, were elected unopposed, barring the vice-presidents.
The All India Football Federation (AIFF) was barred from voting for not following “correct procedure”.
The IOC delegation indicated that the IOA could return to the Olympic fold as early as the end of this month.
Miro added that the amended IOA constitution was one of the most exhaustive among all IOC constituents and has taken every possible scenario under consideration to avoid any controversy.
“The IOC observers here have agreed that the elections were held properly and they have signed and accepted the results. The house has urged them to take the results back to the IOC and restore the IOA to the Olympic fold as soon as possible,” Ramachandran said after the elections.
The IOA was suspended in December 2012 after it went ahead with elections despite IOC’s reservations, electing Abhay Singh Chautala and Lalit Bhanot as president and secretary respectively. Both have been charged by a court of law.
Under the new constitution, any member against whom charges have been framed by a court of law for an offence that carries imprisonment of more than two years will not be allowed to contest elections and the case will be referred to the IOA Ethics Commission.
List of office-bearers:
President: N. Ramachandran; Senior vice-president: Virendra Nanavati; vice-president: Janardhan Singh Gehlot, Birendra Prasad Baishya, Akhilesh Das Gupta, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Tarlochan Singh, Anurag Thakur, R. K. Anand, G. S. Mander; General secretary: Rajeev Mehta; Treasurer: Anil Khanna; Joint secretary: Kuldeep Vats, Raja K. Sidhu, Rakesh Gupta, S.M. Bali, Sunanina Kumari; Executive council members: Ajit Banerjee, Avadhesh Kumar, Balbir Singh Kushwaha, Bhubneshwar Kalita, Dhanraj Choudhary, Namdev Shirgaonkar, Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Vikram Singh Sisodia.