Malhotra’s IOA panel likely to get the IOC nod

New Delhi, May 3 (IANS) Three separate lists of sports officials have gone to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) offering to present India’s case before the apex body of Olympic sports in Lausanne May 15 for lifting the suspension of the Indian Olympic Committee (IOA).

The three lists have a couple of common names but they are all waiting to hear from the IOC which of the lists or a common panel would be acceptable to the apex body of Olympic sports.

Senior IOA officials feel that the IOC might accept the list sent by Vijay Kumar Malhotra as his is the IOC-recognised National Olympic Committee (NOC).

Curiously, the government wanted to pack its delegation with active sportspersons, but only Abhinav Bindra and sailor Malav Shroff have accepted the ministry’s invitation.

The sports ministry delegation comprises Minister Jitendra Singh, secretary Pradeep Kumar Deb, Anil Kumar Singh (OSD to minister), India’s first individual Olympic medallist Abhinav Bindra and Olympian sailor Malav Shroff.

“The IOC, conventional wisdom tells us, should recognise the panel proposed by Malhotra, more so because the members are all vastly experienced Olympic officials,” said the official not wanting to be named.

The official also felt it was not proper for the government to involve active sportspersons in the Olympic hassles. More so, when the athletes get huge grants from the government for their training.

Even the IOC may have reservations about the active sportspersons taking part in the deliberations.

Randhir Singh, who is secretary general of the Malhotra-led IOA, told IANS that he would be making his presentation as an IOC member from India.

Refusing to be drawn into the controversial lists, he, however, said the IOC might accept Malhotra’s list as his is the body recognised by the international body.

“I don’t want to be drawn into the controversy but IOC may accept Mr. Malhotra’s panel. I will be making a presentation as an IOC member,” Randhir told IANS.

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

Curiously, Ramachandran, Tarlochan and Raghunathan are also in the panel named by Chautala-led IOA, which was suspended by the IOC finding fault with its election process. The other members of this panel are Hockey India (HI) secretary general Narinder Batra, Jharkhand Olympic Association president R.K.Anand and Athletics Federation of India (AFI) president Adil Sumariwala.

Tarlochan, who figures in both the panels, said only Malhotra has the right to name the delegation.

“The panel selected by Mr. Malhotra will only represent IOA since he is recognised by the IOC,” Tarlochan told IANS.

The IOC in a letter to Malhotra dated May 2 asked him to confirm the names of its delegates, who would be visiting Lausanne for a joint meeting with IOC and India’s sports ministry.

“I will lead a three-member delegation for the meeting and the flight schedule will be sent to you in couple of days,” Malhotra Friday wrote in his letter to IOC president Jacques Rogge.

“This should be treated as the only official/authorised communication of the IOA regarding the composition of the delegation for the meeting,” the letter added.

The sports ministry was alo surprised at the way the suspended IOA had picked its delegates to represent India.

“The six-member panel named by the suspended IOA was selected without our knowledge. I wonder surprised if the IOC will entertain them,” Deb told IANS.

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