India's double Olympic medal-winning wrestler says IOC's move to lift IOA suspension is perfectly timed since CWG and Asian Games are close at hand
India’s double Olympic medal-winner Sushil Kumar yesterday welcomed the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) move to lift the suspension on the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). “The bad phase of Indian sport is over,” Sushil told MiD DAY over the phone from New Delhi yesterday referring to the 14-month period during which India was shunted out of the Olympic movement due to the presence of tainted officials within its ranks.
India wrestler Sushil Kumar. Pics/AFP
The IOC yesterday
welcomed the IOA back into its fold days after ensuring the conduct of a fresh election wherein World Squash Federation N Ramachandran was elected IOA president and All India Tennis Association chief Anil Khanna was elected treasurer thereby marking the exit of scam-tainted Abhay Singh Chautala and Lalit Bhanot from the IOA. IOC’s Executive Board took the decision at an ad-hoc meeting in Sochi yesterday.
Sushil hailed the IOC move as a proud moment for Indian sport. “Being shunned out of the Olympics was an
embarrassing episode for us, but by being welcome back, we have proved to the world that we are a clean nation,” the 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze-winning medallist said.
The move could not have come at a better time, felt the 2012 London Olympics silver-winning wrestler.
“There are two major competitions this year — Commonwealth Games (23 July-August 3) and Asian Games (Sept 19 to Oct 4) and athletes have been training under a lot of stress given the possibility of having to take part in these games without the national flag like our athletes at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Now, there’s no such fear, so we can train all train with a free mind and this will only translate into an improved performance and a better medal haul,” said the 30-year-old freestyle grappler.