MUMBAI (Reuters) - India’s bid to overturn an Olympic ban looked no closer to a solution on Friday with a split and squabbling delegation set to attend a meeting with the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne on May 15.
The meeting has already had to be postponed twice, with the sports ministry at loggerheads with acting Indian Olympic Association (IOA) chief V.K. Malhotra over a controversial government sports code.
The IOC imposed the ban in December over government interference in IOA elections.
A Delhi court last year directed the IOA to hold the elections adhering to a government sports code, while the IOC wanted the body to abide by the Olympic charter.
India’s sole individual Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra will attend the meeting in Lausanne as part of a five-member government delegation led by the country’s sports minister.
Malhotra, a vehement opponent of the sports code, and three of his colleagues will also travel to Switzerland along with India’s IOC member Randhir Singh.
Despite the continuing divisions, a top sports ministry official remained optimistic of a positive outcome.
“Thirty-two national sports federations have already amended their constitution as per the sports code and except archery and cricket, the rest agreed to do so by June 30,” P.K. Deb, the secretary of India’s sports ministry, told Reuters.
“We have written confirmation from 53 out of 55 federations and we hope India will be soon back in the Olympic fold.”
The sports code makes it mandatory for officials to retire at 70 and limits their tenures in office to 12 years. If put into effect, it would end 81-year-old Malhotra’s more than four-decade-old reign at the Archery Association of India.
Editing by Alan Baldwin