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No bilateral sports ties with Pakistan, says newly elected IOA boss Narinder Batra

Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra says the priority would be to improve India’s medals tally in major international events including the Olympic Games

other sports Updated: Dec 14, 2017 20:50 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
IOA,IOA Elections,Narinder Batra
Narinder Batra, the newly-elected Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president, is also the head of The International Hockey Federation (FIH).(Ali Bharmal/Getty Images for FIH)

The newly elected president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Narinder Batra has categorically said, there will be no bilateral sporting ties with Pakistan.

“The question (of playing Pakistan) doesn’t arise until and unless the political relation improves. Currently the situation is bad,” Batra said during his first media interaction after being elected chief of the National Olympic Committee.

Batra, president of the world governing body in hockey (FIH) said: “International commitments are different, but sporting ties between the two nations can’t take place. The environment has to be healthy first. Otherwise not.”

At the international level, Batra says recently, Pakistan participated in the Asian Athletics Championship in Bhubaneswar. “If there are more international events on the Indian soil and Pakistan is one of the nations, we have to go by protocol,” he added.

Batra says the priority would be to improve India’s medals tally in major international events including the Olympic Games.

India had won six medals in the 2012 London Olympics, but the tally came down to just two at the Rio Games in 2016. Batra though didn’t commit to a medal haul at the 2020 Tokyo Games, but said it would be better than the previous Games.

The IOA chief also said welfare of sportspersons will be on the agenda. “Interest of athletes will be looked after,” he said.

On IOA’s strained relation with the government he said: “There is line, the government has to respect the autonomy of the National Olympic Committee,” he said adding he is hopeful the relation will improve in the future.

“We have plans to bid for the 2026 Commonwealth Games, followed by the Asian Games and 2032 Olympic Games. India will be organising the Asian Beach Games in 2020 at Goa,” Batra said.

India have not bid for a multi-discipline since the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, which led to corruption charges against the members of the organising committee.

Batra refused to elaborate on the pending petition filed by lawyer and sports activist Rahul Mehra on the IOA elections violating the Sports Code. ‘’It’s a legal issue. I will not comment on it. But the Sports Code has been followed in the elections of the office bearers,’’ he said.

Regarding the Sports Code clause of the IOA set-up having 25 per cent sportspersons, he said: “In the IOA setup, we have about 68 per cent sportspersons. So there is no question of not including them,” he said.

Overall the elections of IOA went on expected lines, with Batra elected unopposed. Since Anil Khanna, the other presidential candidate in fray withdrew his nomination after the deadline of December 3, the elections had to be held. Batra got 142 votes while Khanna got 13.

IOA’s incumbent secretary general Rajeev Mehta was re-elected unopposed as he was the only candidate in fray. Mehta said, the issue of organising National Games will be sorted out soon. “The next Games will be held in Goa in November 2018. Thereafter, we hope to streamline the system,” he added.

First Published: Dec 14, 2017 20:49 IST