International Olympic Committee (IOC) on 11 February 2014 revoked the ban imposed on Indian Olympic Association (IOA). The step paved the way for India’s return into the Olympic fold. The decision of IOC of lifting the ban imposed on IOA came just after the IOA held elections as per IOC directives on 9 February 2014.
Union Sports Ministry also adhered to the Olympic Charter under the pressure from IOC and barred charge sheeted officials from contesting elections apart from conducting its polls. As a result of elections conducted by IOA, Narayna Ramachandran was elected as the President of IOA.
Indian players so far were participating in the Sochi Winter Olympics without having the Indian flag. With this decision, the Indian atheletes will now be participating under the Indian flag at the closing ceremony of Winter Olympics at Sochi, Russia. The Indian atheletes who are participating in the Sochi Winter Olympics are Shiva Keshavan (Luge), Nadeem Iqbal (cross-country skier) and Himanshu Thakur (slalom skier). This decision of IOA, once again has brought Indian athletes to represent India in the big events of the year including the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and Asian Games.
Besides, the decision of IOC is a historic one. This is because for the first time in the history of Olympics the lifting of ban on a participating nation took place during the mid-way of Olympics.
IOC suspended India in December 2012 for electing tainted men as secretary general and President and failed to comply with the Olympic charter and for allegations of corruption. The decision of lifting the ban on India was taken in an ad hoc meeting. In Olympic history, this is the first time, when the suspension of an NOC has been lifted during an Olympic Games and the decision will have an immediate impact. Indian athletes entered the Sochi Winter Olympic Games under the Olympic flag and have competed as Independent Olympic participants.
This decision means that the Indian athletes can now compete for the National Olympic Committee of India and will walk behind their national flag at the Closing Ceremony on 23 February. To symbolically mark the lifting of the suspension and in recognition of the three Indian athletes competing in Sochi, the Indian flag will be raised in the Olympic Village.
Members of IOC met with the Indian committee during the suspension and oversaw the changes in governance including recommendation to not elect any person with criminal records or facing charges from serving the board. IOC delegation that observed the elections was headed by IOC member Robin Mitchell. N Ramachandran was elected as the new President of IOA. Ramachandran is the head of the World Squash Federation for the past six years and also the only person to identify himself as a candidate. The voting process and selection was also overseen by the members of IOC.
Narayanaswami Srinivasan, the elder brother of Ramachandran is president of the Indian governing body for cricket, the BCCI and has been selected as the Chairperson of ICC.
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