Several Olympians, including Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee former hockey player Dhanraj Pillay, have supported Randhir Singh's candidature for the post of Indian Olympic Association's President.
"We Olympians strongly believe and support the candidature of Raja Randhir Singh who besides being an Olympian has been the face of Indian Sports in the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Council of Asia giving India its duly deserved place in the International Olympic body," the Olympians said in a joint statement.
"The legendary Sir Sebastian Coe at the recently conducted London Olympics, Franz Beckenbauer by conducting a successful World Cup in football, showed their leadership and sporting qualities.
"So why not Randhir Singh a sporting figure to bring about a change in Indian Sports and resurrect the Olympic Movement in India which has taken a severe beating due to the controversial members of the previous committee, who have committedÂ more grave illegal acts in destroying our national game," they added. The IOA elections are scheduled for November 25.
"The International Olympic Committee was absolutely right in coming out strongly and taking action against the tainted IOA members," the former sportspersons said.
The Olympians made a plea to the state associations to back Randhir's candidature.
"...we once again request all the State Olympic Associations and the National Sports Federations to support the candidature of Raja Randhir Singh who has brought laurels to our country and ensure that the illegal acts committed by a group of IOA members are defeated."
The fight for the post of IOA president is between Randhir, who is the current General Secretary, and Abhay Singh Chautala, the nominated Chairman of the Indian Boxing Federation.
The Olympians who have made the statement are: Dhanraj Pillay, V Bhaskaran, Merwyn Fernanadis, Mohd Shahid, Joaquim Carvalho, M P Singh, Gurbax Singh Grewal, Balbir Singh Grewal, Kulwant Arora, Baldev Singh, Prabhjot Singh, Devesh Chaouhan, Gavin Ferreira, Arjun Hallappa, Vineet Kumar, Harendra Singh, Romeo James, Adrian Desouza, Sammeer Dad, Darryl Desouza, Aloysius Edwards, Iqbaljit Singh Grewal.