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.