The day after the IOA was debarred from all activities involving the Olympic movement, the country’s top sports administrators were seen lobbying for a post in the Apex sports body.
The hectic activity lasted several hours. At the end of the day, many aspiring candidates were left heart-broken as they did not fit into IOA’s newly elected president Abhey Singh Chautala’s scheme of things.
There was jostling for the posts of six joint secretaries, eight vice-presidents and 20 executive council members whose elections were conducted on Wednesday. With as many as 15 candidates vying for eight posts of vice-presidents and 28 for the 20 spots in the executive council, it only made the task difficult for Chautala.
However, for the vice-presidents, he opted for those candidates who had extended their unconditional support to Chautala in the long build-up to the IOA polls. Four of the eight posts went to Members of Parliament.
“Quota system was adopted to sort out the issue of seats,” is what an IOA official said which explaining why the MPs had to be accommodated. “I had to withdraw my name,” a seasoned sports administrator from Jammu and Kashmir, SM Bali, said. He is the Handball Federation of India secretary general.
After the IOA annual general body meeting, acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra said the election procedure had to be completed to stay clear of contempt of court. The Delhi High Court had directed the IOA to hold the elections under the government’s sports code.
Malhotra apprised the members of the IOC directive that IOA should not hold the elections, but the majority present gave their consent to hold the elections.
“We will convince the IOC,” Malhotra argued. However, he refused to comment on tainted official Lalit Bhanot contesting. The IOC, in its letter, had mentioned that it will not recognise the elections and will continue to communicate with Malhotra (acting president) and Randhir Singh (secretary general). Bhanot, however, said he would step down as secretary-general if proven guilty.
The IOA blaming the government or the IOC for its suspension is without merit. All IOC wanted was to protect IOA’s autonomy.
Instead of allowing the sports ministry to dictate, the IOC wanted the code to be incorporated in the IOA’s constitution.
However, the IOA, instead of amending its constitution to include the contentious age-limit and tenure clauses, began making excuses. The IOA misled both the IOC and the ministry.