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Asia-pacific

'No flag' for Indian athletes at Sochi Winter Olympics

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-01-09

Three Indian athletes will compete at the Winter Games that start on February 6 in Sochi, Russia, but they will not be competing under their country’s flag following an embarrassing delay by the country’s Olympic association.

Luge medal hopeful Shiva Keshavan and two skiers’ dream to wave their flag at the high-profile global event were dashed on Wednesday after the Indian Olympic Association announced it would only hold its next meeting three days after the Games begin.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) froze India’s membership in December 2012 in connection to the election of several tainted officials to key posts in the national association.

The international body ordered the association to hold new elections or face the symbolic exclusion, but New Delhi dragged its feet, finally setting the new poll for February 9.

Embarrassing

IOC president Thomas Bach had previously warned that if elections were not held prior to the start of the Sochi Games, Indian athletes would be classified as “independents” competing under the Olympic flag.

“It is a sad and embarrassing situation that Indian sport has been put in,” Keshavan, 32, told India’s Mail Today newspaper. “People around the world know about the failure of our systems and about corruption and bad governance in sports.

“The essence of the Olympic Games is to "represent" and I feel it is shameful and pathetic for all of us Indians that athletes may not walk under the Indian flag,” he stated.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
 

Date created : 2014-01-09

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