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International Olympic Committee Suspends India

LAUSANNE, SwitzerlandThe IOC suspended India's national Olympic committee on Tuesday because of government interference in its election process, two officials with knowledge of the decision said.

After months of warnings, the IOC executive board imposed the sanction when the Indian Olympic Association failed to comply with the world body's demands for holding independent elections, the officials said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the official announcement hadn't been made yet. An IOC news conference was scheduled for later Tuesday at the end of the executive board's first day of a two-day meeting.

Suspension means the Indian body will stop receiving IOC funding and its officials will be banned from attending Olympic meetings and events. India's athletes will be barred from competing in Olympic events under their national flag, although the IOC could allow them to do so under the Olympic flag.

International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said he could not comment.

"I can't discuss that because any decisions that are taken have to be communicated to any countries involved," he said.

In New Delhi, acting IOA President Vijay Kumar Malhotra said the association "has not been intimated about any suspension so far."

Indian Sports Minister Jitendra Singh called the IOC decision "very unfortunate, more so for sports persons."

"I'm only concerned about the sports persons, am waiting for details," he told the Times Now news channel.

Abhey Singh Chautala, who is unopposed for election as IOA president, told reporters in New Delhi that a suspension would be a "one-sided decision."

"We had written to them, asking them to give some time to our two-member committee to tell them about our position," he said. "They've not listened to our side. We will go to IOC again and explain to them how elections were carried out here."

The IOC had also recently threatened to suspend Kuwait's Olympic committee, but the Gulf nation amended its sports law last week and was not hit with an IOC sanction on Tuesday.

The IOC had repeatedly told the Indian body to adhere to its own constitution and the Olympic Charter and not follow the government's sports code for this week's elections. The IOC will not recognize the results if the elections are held under government rules.

The Indians have been mired in wrangling over the elections to replace Suresh Kalmadi, who was jailed for nine months on corruption charges related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. Mr. Kalmadi, who headed the IOA for 16 years, decided not to seek re-election.

The Indian vote, originally scheduled for last month, has been postponed to Wednesday following the resignation of election commission chairman S Y Quraishi.

On Friday, the IOA announced the appointment of some officials to posts which were not contested in the elections. Appointed as secretary general was Lalit Bhanot, who is also facing graft charges relating to the Commonwealth Games.

AP

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323401904578158843591158414.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

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After Olympics, India’s Boxing and Archery Associations Out of Play

Allegations of corruption and election manipulation are roiling India’s sports agencies.

On Thursday, the International Boxing Association suspended the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation, saying in a statement that it had learned of “possible manipulation” in a recent election held by the Indian group. The move could prevent Indian boxers from competing in the World Boxing Championship in Kazakhstan next October.

On Friday, India’s Ministry of Sports “derecognized” the Archery Association of India and said it had “suspended recognition” of the Indian Boxing Federation.

“The president-elect of the Archery Association of India has served for more than three consecutive terms in the past and is also above the age of 70 years,” which violates India’s sports code, Minister of Sports Jitendra Singh said at a news conference in Delhi. The boxing association’s recent electoral process was “flawed,” he said.

The moves come close on the heels of an announcement by the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday that it had suspended the Indian Olympic Association, and are the latest in a series of allegations of wrongdoing against officials in Indian sports. The Commonwealth Games held in India in 2010 were nearly called off because of several controversies related to mismanagement and corruption.

The International Boxing Association said Thursday that it planned to investigate recent elections held by the Indian boxing group, and in particular a “potential political link” between the president of the Indian Olympic Association and the recent boxing election.

Abhay Singh Chautala, a politician from the Indian National Lok Dal Party, is the man at the center of the controversy. During elections held on Sept. 23, 2011, Abhishek Motaria, a politician from Rajasthan, replaced Mr. Chautala as president of the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation. According to a statement made by the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation, on the same day, Mr. Chautala was named chairman of the federation – a post that was created just before the election, through an amendment to the body’s constitution.

On Wednesday, a day after it was suspended, the Indian Olympic Association elected Mr. Chautala its president. Lalit Bhanot, who was arrested on charges of graft during the Commonwealth Games, but is currently out on bail, was elected secretary general.

The International Amateur Boxing Association said it was now investigating the possibility of a link between the Indian Olympic Committee election and the Indian boxing group’s election.

On Friday, Mr. Chautala told reporters that he was prepared to step down as chairman of the boxing federation and for re-elections to be held so that the body can regain its affiliation with the International Boxing Association.

Other officials from the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation denied any wrongdoing. “The election was held fairly and the decision was unanimous of the whole house,” Rakesh Thakran, the body’s administrative secretary, said by telephone. “The Indian Amateur Boxing Federation has the power to create any post for the smooth running of the organization,” he said. “The constitution can be amended at any time.”

According to Mr. Thakran, the post of chairman was created after all members approved it at the boxing group’s annual general meeting. He also said that all 35 affiliated state associations were represented at the elections.

Members of the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation are planning to travel to Lausanne, France, where the International Boxing Association is headquartered, to clarify the situation, he said. “They may have been guided wrongly by someone,” Mr. Thakran said. “We will talk to them about it.” He also said that they had not been informed of the suspension in advance.

http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/07/after-olympics-indias-boxing-and-archery-associations-out-of-play/

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sure - any Olympic speculation's welcome, and India in particular gets a fair amount of interest.

I really wonder what they could do to turn around the negative perceptions of their capability that 2010 left as a legacy.

Oh dear, I was just going through this forum - and I completely forgot about my tentative interest in doing a proper appraisal of India's chances (and the impact of the Commonwealth Games fiasco on the bids of developing nations)...I will get to it soon - until then, Merry Christmas!

What a mess. They seriously need to get their act together. Embarrassing.

Couldn't agree more, AF! A terrible shame for a nation with potential!

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  • 3 weeks later...

IOC offers to meet Indian officials to break deadlock

(Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee has offered a lifeline to suspended India by inviting its government officials for a meeting at its Lausanne headquarters.

The IOC banned the country after refusing to recognise the results of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) elections held on December 5 due to government interference, which led to a tainted official being named as its new secretary general.

Lalit Bhanot, who spent 11 months in custody last year following corruption charges and is on bail pending further investigations, was given the senior IOA post despite the IOC deeming the elections "null and void".

In a letter seen by Reuters sent to Randhir Singh, secretary general of the IOA during the previous regime, the IOC said the Indian body must be able to hold elections without interference while adhering to its own constitution and the Olympic Charter.

"In order to start working closely together ... it is hereby proposed to hold a first joint meeting with you and a senior representative of the government of India as soon as possible," the IOC letter said.

The IOC also warned Indian national sports associations against meeting with "illegitimate" individuals who were elected during the December 5 elections.

"The members of the suspended IOA must not associate themselves with these illegitimate individuals or interact with them in any manner whatsoever," the letter said.

"In particular, the national federations must not attend any meeting convened by these individuals, who do not represent the suspended IOA.

"In the event that any federation associates itself with these individuals, in violation of the IOC's decisions and the Olympic Charter, the IOC will immediately ask the International Federation concerned to take necessary action."

Local media reported that officials of the suspended IOA have convened an executive board meeting in New Delhi on January 19 to discuss the IOC suspension among other items on the agenda.

Reuters

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