Malhotra-led IOA to boycott IOC meeting

New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) Objecting to Narinder Batra and R.K. Anand’s inclusion in the delegation, the Vijay Kumar Malhotra-led Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has decided to stay away from the May 15 meeting with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne.

The IOA delegation will now have six members while India’s sports ministry will be represented by Minister of State Jitendra Singh, secretary Pradeep Kumar Deb, Anil Kumar Singh (OSD to minister), India’s first individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra and Olympian sailor Malav Shroff.

What irked Malhotra, who is recognised as the IOA president, is that the IOC accepted Batra and Anand, whose names were proposed by the Abhay Singh Chautala-led unrecognised IOA, which has been suspended by the IOC.

“I have informed the IOC that by inviting Batra and Anand, the IOC has recognised a democratically elected IOA under the leadership of Mr.Chautala. There is no point in our attending the meeting,” Malhotra told IANS.

Malhotra’s panel, besides him, had N. Ramachandran (patron, Squash Rackets Federation of India), Tarlochan Singh (vice president, Archery Association of India) and S. Raghunathan (president, Indian Kayaking & Canoeing Association).

But the IOC decided to include Batra, secretary general of Hockey India (HI), and Anand, who is represents the weightlifting federation, increasing the representation of the National Sports Federation (NSFs) by a significant number.

Tarlochan Singh and Ramachandran have also informed Malhotra that they too would not be attending the Lausanne meeting.

The IOC member from India, Randhir Singh, who is also the Olympic Council of Asia secretary general, has also decided not to attend the meeting since the IOC didn’t bother to take the OCA into confidence before convening the meeting. Randhir Singh is also the secretary general of the recognised IOA.

Curiously, Ramachandran, Tarlochan Singh and Raghunathan are also in the panel named by the Chautala-led IOA, which was suspended by the IOC finding fault with its election process. The other members of this panel were Batra, Anand and Athletics Federation of India (AFI) president Adil Sumariwala.

The IOC, in a letter to Malhotra Wednesday, confirmed that Batra and Anand would be a part of the Lausanne meeting.

“The IOC hereby takes note of the composition of your respective delegations as indicated by Mr. Deb and by Mr. Malhotra, respectively. In addition the IOC has considered the request from a significant number of National Sports Federations to include also the names of Mr. Batra (Hockey) and Mr. Anand (Weightlifting),” Jerome Poivey, Head of Institutional Relations and Governance, NOC Relations Department, said in the letter.

“In order to give a reasonable opportunity for the different views of the national federations members of the suspended IOA to be expressed and heard, we wish to inform you that the IOC decided to accept these two additional persons and welcome them to join our meeting on 15 May,” the letter added.

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