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Olympics

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Nita Ambani is now India’s only active individual member at the IOC


Nita Ambani, sports promoter and founder chairperson of Reliance Foundation, is now an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member.

Firstpost—a Reliance group publication—termed Ms. Ambani’s election as “carrying forward the country’s flag in the Olympic Movement.”

The first lady of the Reliance group was voted in as an individual member in Rio on Thursday polling 92.2% valid votes among eight candidates.

The seat of the International Olympic Committe...

The seat of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What does being an individual member entail?

The Olympic website states:

“The IOC members, natural persons, are representatives of the IOC in their respective countries, and not their country’s delegate within the IOC. As stated in the Olympic Charter: ‘Members of the IOC represent and promote the interests of the IOC and of the Olympic Movement in their countries and in the organisations of the Olympic Movement in which they serve.’”

So it’s not really a victory for the nation per se—if one wants to nitpick—but actually a shrewd move both by Nita Ambani and the Olympic Committee.

Evidently the committee considers India to be an important cog in its scheme of matters in years to come.

And Nita Ambani gains some legitimacy in the eyes of her numerous detractors and critics who consider her a privileged interloper in the world of Indian sport—not that she cares.

She said:

“I am truly humbled and overwhelmed to be elected by the IOC. This is a recognition of the growing importance of India in the world stage and a recognition for Indian women.

I have always believed in the power of sport to shape our youth. I believe that sports brings together communities, cultures, and generations has the power to unify and unite people. I look forward to spreading the spirit of Olympics and sports across our nation.

I’m working really with multi-sports in India. We want to encourage many other games besides cricket in India like football and basketball and let children be exposed to all kinds of games. So I’m looking forward to building a movement in sports for children in India.’’

She is the only current active Indian member in the IOC and the first Indian woman.

Former Indian Olympic Association Secretary General, Randhir Singh, is an honorary member.

The IOC has 90 members, 36 honorary members and 1 honour member.

Honorary members are usually former members.

Dr. Henry Kissinger is the only honour member of the Committee.

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Should Russia be disbarred from Rio?


The Court for Arbitration in Sports (CAS) has pronounced its verdict.

The seat of the International Olympic Committe...

The seat of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The IAAF-imposed ban on the Russian Athletics Federation stays.

No Russian track-and-field athlete will be competing in Rio—at least, not under their national flag.

The International Olympic Committee will decide the fate of the Russian contingent when it meets today.

IOC Headquater

IOC headquarters (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Lausanne, Switzerland - IOC seat Česk...

English: Lausanne, Switzerland – IOC seat Česky: Lausanne, Švýcarsko – sídlo MOV (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The CAS judgment is non-binding on the Committee.

WADA and predominantly western nations’ Olympic Committees are vocally in favour of a blanket ban on the rogue nation given clear and damning evidence of state-sponsored collusion in doping. They feel that the IOC must exhibit ‘zerotolerance‘  towards systematic doping by any state. 

Olympic Games 1896, Athens. The International ...

Olympic Games 1896, Athens. The International Olympic Committee. From Left to right, standing: Gebhardt (Germany), Guth-Jarkovsky (Bohemia), Kemeny (Hungary), Balck (Sweden); seated : Coubertin (France), Vikelas (Greece & chairman), Butovsky (Russia) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

National Olympic Committees have been banned before—simply not for drug-related scandals.

Collective responsibility should not come at the cost of individual justice—the IOC is seeking a balance.

The Russian public believes that their country is being discriminated against by the Western world. They cannot accept that all their athletes are drugged.

A sanction against all Russian competitors would be unfair to those abiding by the rule book. 

While the IOC has several options before arriving at a final decision, a simple solution would be to allow the Russians to participate—both under their national banner and the Olympic one but have each one of their athletes subjected to both in-competition and out-of-competition testing.

This would allow clean athletes to breathe freely and hopefully deter sportspersons who are doping.

This would also send a strong message to errant national sports federations everywhere that unless they clean up their act, their athletes and their fellow countrymen will be treated like Caesar’s wife—not above suspicion.

Simply leaving the decision to international sports federations burdens them further and not all of them are fully equipped to make an informed decision on the matter.

Whatever the IOC’s decision, there will be no pleasing everyone.

That’s a given.

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