Praising NDTV's Support Our Sports campaign, Union Sports Minister Jitendra Singh on Saturday said that while he is willing to talk to the International Olympic Committee(IOC) to seek a solution to the suspension imposed on the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Indian athletes too should speak up.
The IOA, earlier this week, was suspended by IOC and the main reason cited was government interference. Jitendra Singh though said that this is a temporary phase. "I am willing to go to Switzerland and speak to IOC to find a way out of this crisis. I would (also) like to assure athletes that this is a temporary phase, the Government of India will stand by you," he said in an exclusive interview.
While Olympic medalist Abhinav Bindra had earlier told this channel that he felt athletes should be more vocal and be part of the administration, Jitrendra Singh said that they need to be heard as well. " I would like to be a facilitator for athletes. Would like athletes to speak up."
The Sports Minister had also suggested an ad-hoc committee consisting of sportspersons as an interim measure. "We are going to speak to various international bodies to work out an interim solution. We are going to suggest an ad-hoc committee comprising 10 eminent (Indian) sportspersons to be formed. What we are saying is that please put in place an interim measure," he had told reporters on Friday - day the government took action against the Archery association and the Boxing federation in the country.
The 41-year-old-minister maintained his stance and said that the sports code must be adhered to. "There will be zero tolerance for sports federations who do not follow the Sports Code."