New Delhi: There was some respite for the Indian athletes on Tuesday when the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) agreed to allow them to participate in all its recognised Games, despite the ban imposed on India by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The Indian athletes, however, will have to compete under the Olympic flag till the IOC lifts the ban on the country. No Indian official would be allowed to take part in the Games.
“It is indeed a positive sign for the Indian athletes,” PK Deb, secretary, ministry of sports, told The Telegraph. “I have received a letter in this regard from a senior OCA official,” Deb added.
The OCA decision came as a huge relief for the Indian sporetspersons as the next OCA organised Games is the Asian Indoor and Martial Art Games in Korea, from June 29 to July 6. Several martial arts-related sports federations were apprehensive about India’s participation and did not take a decision about preparatory camps.
The next Asian Games is still two years away, to be held in Incheon, Korea from September 19 to October 4, 2014. But before that, the Indian contingent would also take part in Asian Youth Games, in Nanjing, in August 2013 and Asian Games Centennial Celebrations, in the Philippines, in November 2013.
The IOA sources said that there is every possibility that the current impasse over the IOC ban could be resolved in the next two months. “IOC wants an early solution though, for that, the IOA elections would have to be held again,” the official said.