PtG Article 08.01.2014

Indian athletes will be ’independent’ during Sochi Games

Due to the International Olympic Committee’s suspension of India’s Olympic Association, Indian athletes will not be able to officially represent India during the Sochi Games next month.

A dispute between the international Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) over the election of tainted officials to lead the Indian Olympic sports has been ongoing since December 2012, when the IOC suspended the IOA.

Last month, the divergence seemed to ease up as the IOA agreed to comply with the IOC's principles of good governance and not include tainted officials in the new election rounds, but in spite of requests from the Indian sports ministry, the Indian NOC rejected to run elections before the Sochi Winter Games starting on February 7.

According to AFP, the IOA elections have now been set for February 9.

In an earlier statement concerning the situation in the IOA, IOC president Thomas Bach explained that if the election was not held before February 7, Indian athletes competing in Sochi would be classified as “independent athletes under the Olympic flag”, writes AFP.

"It is a sad and embarrassing situation that Indian sport has been put in,” said Indian luger Shiva Keshavan to AFP.

"People around the world know about the failure of our systems and about corruption and bad governance in sports. The essence of the Olympic Games is to ‘represent’ and I feel it is shameful and pathetic for all of us Indians that athletes may not walk under the Indian flag."



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