Olympians launch drive against tainted IOA

Jan 22, 2013, 10:36 IST | Sundari Iyer

Woken up by a letter from "illegitimate Indian Olympic Association" secretary general Lalit Bhanot, Clean Sports India (CSI), launched a non-cooperation movement against the IOA yesterday

“We, Arjuna Awardees, got a shock 10 days ago when we got a letter from Bhanot asking us to send our bio-data and photographs to be kept at the IOA office in New Delhi. This is an illegal body as stated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). We don’t want to comply with the request and want all other former awardees also to do so,” said Arjuna Awardee and CSI’s joint convener Reeth Abraham during a media conference at the Mumbai Press Club.

Former sportspersons (standing from left) Raju Bhavsar, Joaquim Carvalho, Pravin Thipsay, Denzil Rego, Lenard Sampey and (sitting from left) Gurbax Singh, Reeth Abraham, Vandana Rao and BVP Rao address a media gathering at Press Club yesterday. Pic/Sundari Iyer

“We think this non-co-operation movement launched today and our signed letter, which we are sending to Bhanot, will make a difference. Even SD Eshan, a former shot putter received a similar letter from Bhanot only to be shocked. He said that when we were active, nobody acknowledged our existence,” said Abraham.

Former sportspersons, Olympians Vandana Rao, Joaquim Carvalho, MM Somaiya, Mervyn Fernandes, Jude Felix, Ashwini Nachappa, MP Ganesh, Devesh Chauhan, Vandana Shanbaug and MP Singh have signed the letter expressing their opposition against the tainted sports body. The IOC has asked the Indian associations to contact them directly. CSI convener BVP Rao said his two-year-old organisation would like to ask the IOC to take action on Bhanot, Abhay Singh Chautala, Suresh Kalmadi, Narinder Batra and N Ramachandran.

“These four to five people want to somehow gain legitimacy for this illegitimate body. The IOC has strongly opposed this. This movement is against these illegitimate IOA officials. We do not want the current athletes to join us as this movement could take a day or even years. And if they give us their support then their career might be at risk,” said Rao.

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