In IOA’s factional tug-of-war,India without team head for Olympics

All nations have appointed chefs de mission,red face for India in London.

Written by R Ramachandran | New Delhi | Published:February 22, 2012 10:09 pm

A little over five months before the London Olympic Games,India is the only participating country that has not named its chef de mission. The reason is familiar: two groups of competing sports officials have been unable to agree on a candidate.

The two contenders for the job — Indian Olympic Association (IOA) vice-president Tarlochan Singh and Weightlifting Federation of India president B P Bhaisya — are backed by powerful rival lobbies in the IOA,led by its secretary general Randhir Singh and president V K Malhotra.

After an IOA executive meeting last October failed to decide the chef de mission,a seven-member committee was asked to arrive at a name within a week. This the committee — which had Malhotra,Randhir Singh,Abhay Chautala,Jagdish Tytler,Anil Khanna,Akhilesh Das and G Raghunathan as members — failed to do.

Late last year,India found itself in a fix after it was invited to a chefs de mission meeting by Games organisers. IOA joint secretary and president of Handball Federation of India S M Bali was asked to represent India. The reason: he had a ready UK visa.

On his return,Bali informed the IOA that he had cut a sorry figure at the meeting to which he had gone totally unprepared.

“I have submitted my report to the IOA insisting on the importance and urgency of naming the chef de mission. There are several issues that only a chef de mission can tackle. Even the pre-DRM (delegation registration meeting) has got over. Such meetings are attended by the chef de mission,” Bali said.

Malhotra said,“We are aware that there has been a delay but we will meet soon to finalise the name.”

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