22nd June 2010, New Delhi, India
Dear Mr. President and fellow sportsperson,
On the eve of International Olympic Day, we want to bring to your attention the current state of affairs of the Olympic Movement in India. We think there is a serious threat to the very foundation of the values of sport.
You may be aware that the Indian Olympic Family is essentially controlled by people who have never played any sport in their lives. They are essentially politicians, civil servants, military officers and businessmen.
We are aware that in the history of the Olympic Movement many non-sports persons have made a valuable contribution to sport. The current situation in India is significantly different. During the last few decades a certain section of people have been using the sport as a vehicle to gain political power and to satisfy their greed keeping the sports persons like us as mere bystanders. The worst is that these self-appointed sports politicians of India think and openly talk that only they can manage sports and not sports persons like us.
In his most recent public statement Mr. Suresh Kalmadi, the President of Indian Olympic Association, said “sports federations should be headed either by a politician or a businessman or a bureaucrat and not a former sportsman.” Please refer to India’s leading national English daily newspaper Times of India, Bangalore edition, dated 21st May 2010.
We thank God that you were born in a country like Belgium and could thereby become president of your National Olympic Committee and the president of International Olympic Committee despite being an Olympian!
It is not only Kalmadi who thinks that politicians can only manage Indian sports. There are several others in many political parties of India who think like him. This is an unfortunate aspect of Indian sports politics.
We have another veteran sports politician Mr. Vijay Kumar Malhotra, who has been the President of Indian Archery Association for 39 years. Each time he is “elected” unanimously and many times in his drawing room!
Mr. Malhotra is a staunch ally of Mr. Kalmadi, who has been head of Indian Olympic Association for over 25 years, in retaining the control over Indian sports, though their political parties are invariably at loggerheads and rivals in Indian politics. It is a wonderful example of cooperation of warring political parties of India; thanks to their sporting spirit! …………….continued.
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