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IOC eyes on IOA polls

New Delhi: After 14 months of bitter infighting that led to its suspension by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), India is likely to return to the Olympic movement when Indian Olympic Association (IOA) holds its elections, on Sunday.

Sources said the IOC has assured the IOA to lift the suspension immediately after the elections results are declared. IOA was suspended in December 2012 when a section in the apex body decided to go ahead with its elections without following the Olympic Charter.

The shocking suspension has cost India dear. They were not allowed to participate under the tricolour in any international meet recognised by the IOC in the past 14 months. The latest blow was the Winter Olympics in Sochi where the Indian athletes had to carry the IOC flag. The IOA officials remained unperturbed and blamed each other for the shameful mess.

In Sunday’s elections, the results are more or less a foregone conclusion, as Narayanswamy Ramachandran of the squash federation would be elected as the new IOA president unopposed. The two other contestants for principal office bearers — Rajiv Mehta (secretary general) and Anil Khanna (treasurer) — are also the lone candidates for their respective posts.

IOC director of NOC relations Pere Miro, IOC ethics commission member Francisco J Elizalde from Philippines and Olympic Council of Asia director General Husain Al Musallam are the observers for Sunday’s elections.

Some veteran sports administrators feel this election could be the best thing to happen to IOA. “This is going to see the change of old guards, especially after the Commonwealth Games scandals. There will be no place for Suresh Kalmadi, Lalit Bhanot, Abhay Singh Chautala or Randhir Singh in the elected body,” an official said.