Senior IOA official for China-specific guidelines to athletes
A senior Indian Olympic Association (IOA) official has called for drawing up an advisory for Indian athletes and officials travelling to China for sports events to keep them from harm’s way in the wake of simmering tensions between the neighbouring countries.
Top IOA officials feel it is important to warn those travelling to China for sports events that they must strictly follow regulations to ensure they don’t get into trouble and put India in an embarrassing situation.
IOA treasurer, Anandeshwar Pandey, has written to the president and secretary-general. It says, “As you are aware, a lot of top international competitions take place in various cities in China, which will also host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing and the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou besides several World Cups, world championships and Asian championships.
“Due to the situation emerging post the border clashes and the relationship between the two countries (being) at an all-time low, there is need for IOA to also take some steps for the safety and well-being of Indian athletes who will compete in Chinese cities across disciplines like shooting, wrestling, boxing, to name a few.”
IOA secretary-general Rajiv Mehta said there was a proposal to issue guidelines for Indian athletes before they travel for the 2022 Winter Olympics. “We would certainly work on the suggestions given by the IOA treasurer,” he said.
The letter says, “A clear-cut set of guidelines should be circulated by IOA among sportspersons through the National Sports Federations (NSFs) to ensure athletes do not cross the red line in China and put themselves, their counterparts/ teammates and Indian officials in trouble. While it is absolutely essential that every athlete adheres to the rules and regulations of the host country, it becomes all the more important in the case of China in the wake of the growing tensions between the two countries.
“Athletes and officials should adhere to local rules and regulations, Games Village protocols and stadium norms. The guidelines given by local authorities at the time of the athletes’ arrival in China and Indian officials’ liaisoning/interactions with Chinese officials should be of the highest standard in the wake of the border episode.”
Pandey added: “The IOA should share the guidelines with the Indian government and also take the advice of the sports ministry to refine and fine-tune the norms at the earliest to prevent any untoward incident in the future. The NSFs should also do a briefing of their athletes and officials before they leave the Indian shores for competing in Chinese cities.” He wants a meeting between IOA officials and state associations to fast-track the process.
“We will follow the advice… I am sure this would help India maintain its good image in China through its athletes during the 2022 Games,” said Mehta, who led IOA’s opposition to sponsorships in Indian sports of Chinese company Li-Ning.
Such a move would be “quite significant in terms of the country’s reputation in foreign countries,” Indian Weightlifting Federation secretary-general, Sahdev Yadav, said.