Stung by criticism for his no-show at Vijender's medal ceremony, Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Suresh Kalmadi on Sunday defended himself and said it was not possible for him to shrug international commitment to see the Indian boxer at the podium.
Kalmadi told PTI that he and IOA Secretary General Randhir Singh were scheduled to give away the medals and bouquets to the winners of the women's 4x400m relay event at the Bird's Nest, which made it impossible for them to attend Vijender's medal ceremony.
"I'm startled by the criticism. Giving away medals and bouquets was an international commitment for me. After all, I'm also the president of the Asian Athletics Association. I just could not be at two places at the same time," said Kalmadi, also an IAAF Council member.
"I went when it mattered most. I went to see his bouts and also visited him in the Olympic village to congratulate him. I think that was more important than attending his medal ceremony, which I would have done anyway but for this commitment to give away Olympic medals," he added.