Prompted by a letter from "illegitimate Indian Olympic Association" official Lalit
Bhanot, Clean Sports India, headed by Olympian Ashwini Nachappa, today launched a non-cooperation movement against the "illegal" body.
"We, Arjuna Awardees, got a shock ten days ago when we got a letter from Lalit Bhanot asking us to send our bio-data and photographs to adorn the IOA office in Delhi. This is an illegal body as stated by the International Olympic Committee. We don't want to comply with the request and want all other former awardees also to do so," said former athlete and CSI's joint convener, Reeth Abraham, at a media conference today.
"We think this non-coperation movement launched today and our signed letter, which we are sending to
Bhanot, will make a difference. Former shot putter S D Eshan, who also got a similar letter from
Bhanot, expressed his shock that this man who had never even acknowledged our existence when we were active athletes has asked us to send our
bio-datas and photographs," said the former long jumper and heptathlete.
Twenty one former sportspersons, including Olympians Vandana Rao, Joaquim
Carvalho, M M Somaiya, Mervyn Fernandis, Jude Felix, Ashwini, M P Ganesh, Devesh
Chauhan, Vandana Shanbaug and M P Singh, have signed the letter expressing their opposition to the
CSI convener B V P Rao, who lost the election to the presidentship of the "illegal" body to Abhay Singh
Chautala, said his two-year-old organisation would be asking IOC to take action on these guys "individually".
"These four to five people -- Bhanot, Chautala, Suresh Kalmadi (former IOA president), Narinder Batra (Hockey India secretary general) and N Ramachandran (World Squash Federation head) -- want to somehow gain legitimacy for this illegitimate body. The IOC has strongly opposed this. This movement is against these illegitimate IOA officials," he said.
"We are targeting former sportspersons and appealing to them not to co-operate to this letter (by sending their photographs and bio-data). That would be enough. But we don't want the current lot to join the protest as the federations would hamper their career," said
"We would like to inform you that we will not co-operate with you by sending our bio-data and photographs," the Arjuna Awardees and former sports-persons have written to
They have termed his January 1 letter posing as the secretary general of the IOA and seeking the bio-data of Rajiv Khel
Ratna, Arjuna, Dhyanchand and Dronacharya Awardees as a "desperate attempt" to legitimise his claim as office bearer of
"We strongly believe that the International Olympic Committee has taken the right decision in Indian sports management (to take up serious reform). Hence we have decided not to co-operate with you and your collaborators who claim themselves office bearers of IOA through an illegal election," the letter said.
"In the interest of Indian Sports please leave IOA office as directed by IOC," it concluded.
After suspending the IOA on December 4, 2012 after having given a warning the previous month, the IOC had dashed off a missive stating that the elections held by the Indian Olympic body on December 5 that went against its order were "null and void".
The IOC also warned the "elected" officials that they should not occupy the IOA office or operate its bank accounts, recalled
Rao, as well as chess GM Pravin Thipsay, who was present at the conference as a supporter of CSI and Arjuna
Awardee, said the suspension of IOA is a serious issue that has not been highlighted enough.
"The common man does not know the repercussions of this action by IOC and the gravity of the situation unless it is resolved. Indian sportspersons will not be able to take part in the Asian Games, Olympic Games etc in team games. They can take part as individuals (under the Olympic flag). So there would be a reduced number of Indian participants," said
"I am angry by this move (of asking for bio-data) because this is an attempt to legitimise an illegal body. I appeal to all sportspersons not to recognise this illegal body."
© Copyright PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of any PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.