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India Finally Plays Ball with IOC

What Happened?

The “Indian” Olympic team arrived under the International Olympic Committee‘s (IOC) flag, instead of India’s during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. In December 2012, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was suspended, and therefore the Indian athletes were not allowed to officially represent their country. They are participating as independent entries, which means:

1. No Indian flag flying over them.

2. No Indian anthem playing during their arrival.

3. No Indian insignia on their uniforms.

How did they get suspended?

In one word: corruption. The IOC does not allow politicians or those facing criminal charges to be a part of the governing body of Olympic associations. India decided to ignore multiple calls from the committee to reform, and held elections that violated these rules. The committee responded with the suspension and insisted that the IOA hold another election.

Does it really matter?

Athletes historically only compete under the IOC flag if there is a political transition or diplomatic sanctions against their country. Given that neither are the case with India, it is embarrassing that the Indian athletes will have to compete independently. The Olympics are one of the largest sports diplomacy events of the year, and India had lost before the games even started. On top of the international reputation damage, the athletes themselves were ineligible to receive a lot of support to prepare and participate.

Now What?

As you can imagine, the Indian sports community was outraged that the IOA didn’t comply, and so the Indian association finally agreed to bar the practices that violated the IOC standards. They decided to hold elections on February 9th with the proper oversight required by the international body’s charter.

Let us know in the comments what you think about the IOA and its defiance of the IOC. 

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