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Mending fences, forging consensus top Abhay’s agenda as IOC chief
MS Unnikrishnan/TNS

New Delhi, November 26
Abhay Singh Chautala, who is set to be elected unopposed for the post of the president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) following the withdrawal of Randhir Singh from the fray, said his first priority would be to mend fences with detractors to take the Olympic body forward as “one united, happy family”.

“My first priority would be to take the entire IOA team along as we should bury the hatchet to make Indian sports surge ahead”, he said in an exclusive chat with The Tribune. Despite both the camps waging a no-holds-barred verbal and statement in the run up to the IOA elections, scheduled for December 5, Abhay says he nurses no ill-will against anyone.

Interestingly, some of those who came to congratulate Abhay Singh were Randhir Singh’s camp followers, including those who had filed nominations against Abhay Singh’s panel. They have either withdrawn or have submitted their resignation letters to the president-elect.

“I don’t want any bad blood among the IOA family. Randhir Singhji is my elder brother, and I will meet him to seek his help and support to take Indian sports forward. We will utilise his influence and considerable experience in the Olympic movement as a member of the IOC to sort out whatever differences that exist between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the IOA”, Abhay Singh stated. He said the IOA will not adopt a confrontationist approach towards the Sports Ministry either on the issue of the Sports Code. “We will try to sort out our differences through cordial discussions”, he added.

“We will explain to the Government the problems being created on account of the Sports Code, which were not only hampering the functioning of the National Sports Federations (NSFs), but were also creating a chasm between the IOC and the IOA. We need to solve these problems urgently”, he said earnestly. He said some clauses in the Sports Code defied logic because “if you can hold a Veterans’ Olympics, then what was wrong in a 70-plus person holding a position in a sports body?”.

He said it was essential for the NSFs to get the help and support of the Government for the smooth functioning, though the IOA will be tapping corporate sponsorships to give a big boost to sports in the country. “Now, many sports disciplines are starting leagues on the pattern of the IPL, but most of them are folding up due to lack of viable financial backing”, he noted.

Chautala said after the successful hosting of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, in which India won medals in almost every discipline, the country should have made a big surge. ”Some federations have tried, but without financial backing and proper infrastructure, sports in the country will not chug forward. The IOA will request each State Government to adopt a sports discipline, which is popular in that particular area, and if that happens, every sport will get the necessary financial support and infrastructure to thrive on. By now, we should have been winning more than six medals that we won in the London Olympics”, Chautala observed. Abhay Singh said when he first took over as the president of the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation 12 years ago, the first thing he did was to convene a meeting of the boxers, coaches, officials and all others concerned with the sport to find out why India were not catching up with the rest of the world in boxing.

IOA top post: The Flip-flops

  • Candidates who were set to contest against Abhay’s panel came in to congratulate him at his house
  • It is learnt that Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) secretary-general K Murugan, who has filed for the post of the secretary-general, will withdraw his nomination papers tomorrow
  • Chautala says he will not adopt a confrontationist approach towards the Sports Ministry





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