New Delhi: The ouster of scam-tainted Suresh Kalmadi from Asian Athletics Association (AAA) on Monday evoked mixed response from the Indian sporting fraternity with a few welcoming the verdict of the election while some others feel that country will lose its grip on the association.
Legendary Milkha Singh advised Kalmadi to refrain from sports administration and focus on his political career.
"Suresh Kalmadi should have left sports administration after the CWG scandal and he should not have contested that AAA elections. Everybody knows his role in the CWG scam. My advice to him is that forget sports now and concentrated on your politics," Milkha told PTI.
"What has he done for Indian athletics? He does not know ABC of any sport. What do you expect from such person for the development of athletics?" Milkha fumed.
While 'Flying Sikh' welcomed the end of Kalmadi era, another great of yesteryears, hurdler Gurbachan Singh Randhawa felt bad about Kalmadi being defeated in the elections.
"Frankly speaking, I feel bad today. I can't talk about anything else but Indian athletics will be at loss due to his (Kalmadi's) removal. I have known him for several years. He has worked to the best of his abilities to promote Indian athletics," Randhawa said.
Clean Sports India convenor BVP Rao was happy to find the controversial Kalmadi is out of the continental body.
"It's the official end of Kalmadi era and it will pave the way for lot of people interested in sports promotion coming into administration," Rao stated.
"Next big battle is how to clean up the IOA. But in that regard, IOC is in tune with us as it prevented Kalmadi from attending IOA office unlike the world athletic body which turned a blind eye and did not take any action against him. We hope this will usher a new era in sports administration," Rao added.
Meanwhile, sports secretary P K Deb said that the ministry is trying to bring about transparency in sports governance and would continue to do so.
"For the last few months, Mr Kalmadi has not been active in the Indian sports, at least directly. So I don't think this loss made so much of difference. For last few years, particularly last year, we have been battling consistently to bring about a certain amount of clarity and transparency in the way sport in this country is run and we would continue to do so," Deb said.
However, former India long jumper Anju Bobby George held a different view as she felt that India will miss the experience of Kalmadi as sports administrator.
"It was a bad news for India as Kalmadi was a very experinced sports administrator. He was the president of Asian Athletics Association for many years and IOA chief. He did a lot of things for Indian sports in general and for athletics in particular. So I think it will be difficult to find a person to replace him," Bobby George said.
Virender, husband and coach of India discus thrower Krishna Poonia, also backed the former IOA chief.
"It's shocking news for India as we will lose the services of an able administrator. Kalmadi's contribution to Indian athletics is immense. As AFI president he has done a lot for Indian athletics and after that as IOA chief," Poonia said.
"I don't want to speak about CWG scandal, I think India would not have got the hosting rights had Kalmadi not been the IOA president at that time. The credit for successful holding of CWG goes to Kalmadi," the Dronacharya awardee added.
Shuttler Jwala Gutta said changes in administration is better for sportspersons.
"I won't like to comment on it much. it's a different issue. Whatever changes are happening to the sports administration, it's good for the sportspersons and our future.
"I have always maintained don't mix sports with politics because its we (sportspersons) who always suffer. I don't understand their silly politics and I only believe in performing for the country," Gutta said.
Story first published on: Monday, 01 July 2013 19:31 IST