New Delhi: Sports Minister Jitendra Singh said on Thursday that Indian athletes will soon be able to join the Olympic movement and that all formalities are likely to be completed between 30 and 60 days. This after his meetings with officials of the International Olympic Committee, a day earlier, in Laussane.
Saying that it is a victory for the entire country, Jitendra Singh mentioned that he was happy with the outcome of his official meeting. "IOC has decided to pave the way to lift ban on IOA. Indian athletes will join Olympic movement soon. It is not my victory but a win for the country, sportspersons and all of us."
He however was categorical that while his government wouldn't interfere in the matters of the National Sports Federations, the NSFs need to be transparent. "We told IOC that we do not want to interfere in the matters of NSFs. We respect their freedom. But since tax payers money is involved, we would like them to be more transparent. Because of the internal squabbles of NSFs, why should sportspersons suffer?"
There is also going to be no let up in putting the Sports Bill in place. "Sports bill has been criticised but I am happy to say that IOC has agreed to work with government on proposed draft of the sports bill. The first draft of it is likely by June 30."
Jitendra Singh had met with IOC officials with an Indian delegation that included shooter Abhinav Bindra. "I am thankful to all the members of the delegation and to the IOC. When I saw the Indian flag flying at the IOC, I felt extremely proud," he said.
As part of his speech a day earlier, the Sports Minister had told the IOC that sports administration in India stands at crossroads. "We are at the crossroads of change in the way sports is administered in India. We come to you with a common understanding. We hope the IOC will also assist us in bringing about the changes and when we do, allow Indian sportspersons to compete under the Indian Flag."
The IOC had barred IOA in the first week of December last after accusing it of not adhering to the international charter.