Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra has decided to step down from his position and won't contest elections to focus on his duties as International Hockey Federation (FIH) chief, the 65-year-old said in a press statement on Wednesday. (More Sports News)
“At a time when world hockey is going through an essential development phase, with the promotion of Hockey5s, the creation of a new competition this year – the FIH Hockey Nations Cup – and the launch of fan-engaging platforms and activities, my role as President of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) requires more time for all these activities,” Batra said in a statement.
“Consequently, I’ve decided to not run for a further term as President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA),” he added. Batra felt that a fresh and new mind is needed to take the Indian sports to the next level.
“I feel that the time has come for me to leave this role to someone coming with a fresh mind and new ideas to take Indian sports to much much greater heights and also go all out to work to get 2036 Summer Olympics in India,” he said.
Batra, who was elected as IOA president for the first time in 2017, is eligible to contest for re-election. His decision means that his membership in the International Olympic Committee will also come to an end as the coveted position was linked to his IOA presidency.
Batra was made an IOC member in 2019. The IOA elections, which were due to be held in December last year, have been kept in abeyance due to a pending court case. Batra's reign at the helm of affairs has been a controversial one due to the simmering tension between the factions led by him and Secretary General Rajeev Mehta.
Recently, Batra had tendered an apology after a past social media outburst against former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha caught up with him, a development which has led to demands of his resignation from the IOA top job.