Calcutta: With the International Olympic Committee (IOC) shooting down the Indian Olympic Association’s compromise formula on Wednesday, the ban on India remains and the future of talented sportspersons hangs in balance.
The Indian Olympic Association’s (IOA) stance, that reeks of self preservation of its tainted officials, has caused pain and anger among Olympians past and present.
The Telegraph listens in to what they have to say (alphabetically):
The IOC’s demand is totally justified. They just want a corruption-free body controlling sport in India. How can the IOA be so adamant and put the future of so many athletes in jeopardy? This is really tragic that the sportspersons are being made to suffer, even though they are making all efforts to give their best.
Rahul Banerjee (archery; 2012): I don’t even want to comment on what the IOA should do. But as a sportsperson, I cannot think of participating in any Games under any banner apart from the Indian flag. I will just not be motivated enough. This is really not fair as every sportsperson toils hard and any good performance in the international arena brings honour to the country. That is what we strive for. If we are not allowed to do that, then there is hardly any point in playing any sport.
We are right now looking ahead to the Commonwealth (Glasgow, Scotland) and Asian Games (Incheon, Korea) in 2014. But if we have to play under the IOC or the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) banner it will be very painful.All I can hope for is that the problem will be sorted out and we will be able to represent India.
Keshav Dutt (hockey; 1948, 1952): Who will the players play for if they are not allowed to represent India? This is a ridiculous situation and for the sake of sports, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) must find a solution. They have to abide by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) rules and cannot say they will not follow the international charter. That way, tomorrow another country can come up with another corruption issue and the whole system can collapse. For outstanding Indian players, it is tragic and unfair that they cannot represent the country.
The IOA has done a lot for sports in the country, and they may have reasons for being so adamant this time. But they have to understand that the sportspersons are suffering and that needs to be addressed. All sports associations in India must come together now and fight for justice
Poulami Ghatak (table tennis; 2000): This is extremely disappointing. As an Olympian all I can say is if I cannot represent my country in the Olympics, Asian or Commonwealth Games then why should I even participate in them? We get charged up and motivated because we play for India. I don’t know what the IOA officials will get out of this, but the only people who will suffer are the sportspersons. I can’t imagine taking part in any Games under some other banner. This is indeed a very sad situation.
Joydeep Karmakar (shooting; 2012): For any sportsperson, the priority is to play for the nation. It is a huge ‘high’ for us every time we hear the national anthem being played in an international venue and when the Tricolour is hoisted. The IOA officials are politicising the whole issue for their petty interests. Indian sport is the big-time loser here.
I was expecting the IOA to behave like this since most sports administrators of India are more concerned about their own interests. I have seen them being most active when they receive their kits and blazers. But for us athletes, wearing an India blazer is a matter of huge pride. The fact that we will be deprived of that honour is almost criminal.
The IOA officials are now just playing around with words. How can they say they will not follow the IOC directives, specially when the ban is still on us?We cannot take part in any Games representing the country. And that is really tough.
The IOC’s demand is justified. But with the IOA still adamant, the only people who will suffer are the players.