Winter Olympics 2014 : No Sochi reprieve for banned India





SOCHI: India’s three competitors at the Winter Olympics had their slender hopes of competing under their national flag in Sochi dashed on Sunday. The India Olympic Association (IOA) remains suspended from the Olympic movement until fresh elections take place on February 9. As that falls after the February 7 opening ceremony, the three athletes will compete as independent competitors. “They will take part as independent athletes under the International Olympic Committee (IOC) flag,” said IOC spokesman Mark Adams on Sunday when he ruled out a last-minute reprieve. “There will be meetings of the IOA over the next couple of days, but these will be after the opening ceremony so it’s unlikely there will be a change. “Things are on a good footing and we are hopeful that they have followed advice.”
India’s athletes in Sochi are Shiva Keshavan in men’s luge, Nadeem Iqbal in cross-country skiing and Himanshu Thakur in Alpine skiing. The IOA is set to elect world squash chief N Ramachandran as its president next week, paving the way for the country’s expected return to the Olympic fold. Ramachandran was the lone candidate in the fray for the president’s post in the February 9 elections. Also certain to be elected unopposed were Hockey India official Rajiv Mehta as secretary-general and the country’s tennis chief Anil Khanna as treasurer. Ramachandran, whose elder brother N Srinivasan heads the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), served as the IOA treasurer from 2008 to 2012 and has been president of the World Squash Federation since 2008. The IOC froze India’s membership in December 2012 and suspended it from the Games movement after the IOA elected a number of tainted officials to key posts. 

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