Bindra wants tainted officials to be removed from IOA

Bindra wants tainted officials to be removed from IOA

Bindra wants tainted officials to be removed from IOA

India's elite athletes have piled the pressure on the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and demanded the removal of all tainted officials in order to overturn the country's Olympic ban.

The IOA was suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) last year. During crucial meetings in Lausanne in May, the IOC offered the country a lifeline, asking the suspended IOA to amend its constitution and, among other things, bar any person charged for corruption from holding office.

But in a meeting this month, the IOA refused such a blanket ban, instead proposing an ethics committee would look into the case of any official who has been convicted for less than two years in jail.

Abhinav Bindra, who won India's only individual Olympic gold at the 2008 Beijing Games, said the administrators have failed the country which remains an Olympic laggard despite its 1.2 billion population. "To a certain extent, yes (the IOA has failed the country)," said Bindra. "A lot needs to be done for Indian sport and with our potential we are nowhere near where we can be. "We are still stuck with fighting on clauses that are absolutely non-negotiable... something which is all about ethics.

"The ethical standards are laid down under the Olympic Charter and to defy that is not good. It does not go well for the Olympic movement," said Bindra, who has been joined by Sushil Kumar, who won a wrestling bronze in Beijing and silver in London, and multiple grand slam doubles winning tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi in demanding a corruption-free IOA.

The Indian government has also backed the IOC's efforts in barring tainted officials from contesting the national Olympic body's elections. Bindra said there has been good response to the petition, which will be sent to IOC president Jacques Rogge, pleading the world governing body to maintain the "highest moral standards" of the Olympic Movement in the country.

"We are at a stage where we can either get reforms in place or go back to the status-quo," Bindra, one of the few Indian athletes to consistently question India's sports administrators, said.