Ministry has no business questioning my integrity: Randhir

Posted by on May 6th, 2010 and filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

New Delhi, May 6 (IANS) Indian Olympic Association (IOA) secretary general Randhir Singh Thursday trained his guns at the Sports Ministry for launching a ‘personal attack’ on him for approaching the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on the issue of limiting the tenure of officials of national sports bodies.

Randhir Singh, the lone IOC member from India, said as an independent observer of the apex body it was his duty to inform it about the developments in the country’s sports affairs.

The champion shooter also said the sports ministry has issued the notification without proper ‘understanding and awareness’ of the Olympic Charter.

While welcoming the ministry’s move to send its official to the IOC to explain its viewpoint, Randhir Singh said it should have been done before the notification was issued.

‘It is good that they are sending someone to IOC headquarters to get a better understanding of the Charter because it is becoming an embarrassment for the country. I wish the ministry had done it before issuing the notification.’

On the ministry calling his being an independent member of the IOC as well as secretary general of the IOA a conflict of interest, he said he did not need the government’s permission to write to the IOC. If anything, the ministry should have consulted him as the IOC member from India before issuing the guidelines, he observed.

‘As a member of the IOC from India, it is my duty to keep the world body posted of the developments as well as try and evolve a mechanism to resolve the issue arising out of the ill-timed government guidelines.’

‘I can also pose the same question to the ministry that they should have consulted the IOC member in India before issuing the guidelines without consulting anyone,’ Randhir Singh said without mincing words.

In a letter, IOC’s National Olympic Committee (NOC) relations director Pere Miro hinted that the world body will not hesitate to impose sanctions on its Indian affiliate if there is too much government interference in the functioning of the federations which, under the Olympic Charter, need to be autonomous.

Later, the ministry accused Randhir Singh of having a ‘conflict of interests on the issue in view of his 23-year-long continuous tenure as IOA secretary general and also an independent member from India on the IOC’.

Randhir Singh hit back at the sports ministry saying his credentials were ‘too well known in the sports world’ and released his CV as he addressed the news conference with the motif of five Olympic rings as the backdrop.

‘The ministry has no business to question my integrity and credibility as a sportsperson, sports administrator and member of the IOC, least of all the conflict of interest because of my position as secretary general of the IOA. In sports circles the world over people will vouch for my honesty in whatever I have done all these years, particularly to promote sports in India.

‘I have personal relations with the sports minister (M.S. Gill). He is a family member to me and I have praised his good moves like providing pension to former sports persons.

‘I am hurt with such a personal attack. It is unfortunate, unfounded and absolutely unwarranted.

‘I have no vested interest. I have served the country as a shooter and as a sports administrator and it will not bother me if I walk out of it. But as long as I am an IOC member, I will do my duty with dedication.

‘It is an attack on the integrity of a person who has dedicated his life to sports,’ said Randhir Singh, who is an Asian Games gold medallist and participated in six Olympic Games.

Randhir Singh also said that the ministry’s criticism about IOC not seeking any inputs from the government is totally uncalled for.

‘The Olympic Charter makes it amply clear about the autonomy and tenure issues. The ministry is in possession of the charter and has conveniently ignored what it states on these issues.’

He said the ministry should focus on completion of Commonwealth Games venues as pointed out by the Coordination Commission instead of wasting energies on things like guidelines.

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