Olympic hero backs threat to ban India

Olympic hero backs threat to ban India

NEW DELHI - Agence France-Presse
Olympic hero backs threat to ban India

File photo shows the Indian squad during the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Games. EPA photo

India’s lone individual Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra yesterday lashed out at the country’s sports officials, saying an Olympic ban could be a “blessing in disguise.”

“The current mess is completely of the Indian Olympic Association’s making,” Bindra, who won a rifle shooting gold at the 2008 Beijing Games, wrote in the Hindustan Times newspaper.

The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) executive board, which meets in Lausanne on Dec. 4 and 5, will decide if the Indian federation should be suspended for flouting the Olympic charter in its election process.

The IOA had been directed by a Delhi court to hold elections according to the government’s sports code, while the IOC wanted it to abide by the Olympic charter that favors autonomy.

Tainted officials

Elections to the faction-ridden IOA are due to be held on Dec. 5, but have become a formality after a rival group led by IOC member Randhir Singh withdrew from the contest last week.

It left tainted sports official Lalit Bhanot elected unopposed as the IOA’s secretary-general while Haryana state politician Abhey Singh Chautala became president.

Bhanot is out on bail after serving 11 months in jail last year over corruption charges during the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

The IOC Ethics Commission had in October warned the Indian body against fielding either Bhanot or former IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi, who is also on bail over corruption charges.