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Reinjecting life into Indian sports

Reinjecting life into Indian sports
In a happy development for Indian sports, its differences with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are over and some long overdue reforms of Indian sports bodies are now likely to take place. With talks between the IOC and a delegation from India having been successful, the Indian Olympic Association’s suspension from the International Olympic body will be revoked provided it changes its constitution and holds fresh elections. With the government having given strong guarantees and a clear commitment to the IOC that India will fully respect the principle of autonomy of the Olympic Movement, decks are cleared for these radical changes to take place that may breathe life into Indian sports, with the immediate benefit of the withdrawal of the IOC ban being that Indian athletes will now once again be able to represent their country in the Olympics. It may be recalled that the IOC had suspended the Indian Olympic Association last December for violating the Olympic Charter, which stipulates that its members must not be older than 70 and tenures should be time-bound; both of which stipulations India has ignored in the last several years to the great cost of Indian sport. The IOC had also claimed government interference in the IOA’s December elections, which it refused to recognise, with its ethics panel having warned against the candidature of an individual accused of graft in the organising of the Commonwealth Games. These differences are now settled and the constitution of the Indian Olympic Association will be re-written to ensure that none of the office bearers of national sports federations (NSF) are above the age of 70 years, with the guarantee that no office bearer will get more than three terms.

These changes are vitally important for they may shake up India’s moribund sports administration, largely ailing largely because of poor leadership. Besieged by in-fighting and not transparent in functioning, most of these sports bodies have become the fiefdoms for politicians and others with no links to the sporting culture, who refuse to leave once installed. The result has been that the national sports federations have neither been proactive nor professional in their approach, with their inefficiency causing immense frustration to athletes and the sports loving public. The consequences are seen in the dismal sporting performance of this nation which wins disproportionately few medals in sports despite the huge size of its population. Changes in the constitution of the sports bodies, now being brought about under the impetus of the IOC, are necessary and should revitalise Indian sports.
MPost

MPost

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