Caught in the crossfire

Indian Sports

In a turn of events which ended up as a major embarrassment for the Indian sports fraternity, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Tuesday last, suspended the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) due to violation of the world body’s guidelines.

As if being marred by controversies during and after CWG 2010 was not bad enough, this development at an international level has only added fuel to fire. The decision means that Indian sportsmen cannot participate in events like Olympics and Paralympics and it also means that financial assistance from the IOC will dry up.

Metrolife spoke to a few Olympic medallists to get their reactions. Pugilist and Beijing Olympics medallist Vijender Singh shared his concern over the state of sports. “You know politicians don’t have time for sports. This development is very sad for the fraternity. Sports plays a very important part for a country and decisions like these will only hamper things.” He further adds, “After winning medals people just come to click pictures. Nobody really cares.”

Akhil Kumar, another boxer too condemned the decision taken. “It shouldn’t have happened. All these decisions in turn, hamper the confidence level of players. On the other hand, I would also say that there are certain rules that need to be followed. So I am positive as it is only suspension and not a ban. There will be meetings and I think things will fall in place soon.”

According to news reports, the IOC has had issues over Lalit Bhanot, who is facing corruption charges post-CWG, taking over as the ‘suspended’ IOA secretary-general. Besides, the IOA’s decision to adhere to the government sports code for the elections has not gone down well with the world body. Caught in dirty politics it is the sportsmen who are on the receiving end.

Maintaining a ‘no comments’ stance was shooter and Olympic Bronze medallist Gagan Narang. “It’s unfortunate but I am not too sure about the issue, since haven’t been following it of late,” he said. Following it or not, fact remains that the country is facing embarrassment at an international level because of the petty-minded behaviour of a select few.

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