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IOA fights over chef de mission

The London Olympics is less than seven months away, but the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is yet to name the chef de mission.

india Updated: Jan 04, 2012 00:09 IST
Navneet Singh

The London Olympics is less than seven months away, but the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is yet to name the chef de mission.

The country had to face an awkward situation when SM Bali, a joint secretary with the IOA, was sent to attend an important coordination meeting conducted by the London Games. As per the norm, it is the chef-de-mission who attends such meets.

Interestingly, even as consensus eludes the IOA, it has gone ahead and nominated PK Muralidharan Raja as the deputy chef de mission, and he recently attended an International Olympic Committee meeting in Bangkok.

"A chef-de-mission is normally announced a year before the Games so that he can address issues related to Indian players during pre-Games meetings," an IOA official told HT.

The IOA set up a panel to nominate the chef-de-mission in December, and according to insiders, four of the seven members had proposed the name of Biren Baisya, president of the Indian Weightlifting Federation. He was pitted against Tarlochan Singh, who is believed to be from pro-Suresh Kalmadi faction.

IOA secretary general, Randhir Singh, one of the four members to have backed Baisya's name, said, "It should have been announced by now as most of the formalities were almost over." When contacted, Baisya confirmed the development but said there was no official word yet. "My name has been proposed, but I am yet to get an official confirmation."

Acting IOA president, VK Malhotra, appears to be in no hurry. "Right now it's not on the agenda," he said.