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Indian athletes likely to walk under Tricolour during Sochi closing ceremony

Monday, 10 February 2014 - 6:00am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

Whether or not India wins a medal at the Sochi Winter Olympics, the nation's Tricolour will definitely have the opportunity to fly high on the Russian soil during the closing ceremony of the Games to be held on February 23.

On Sunday, wisdom seems to have dawned on the Indian Olympic Association who has managed to salvage the country's pride by finally holding the 'disputed' elections that seemed to have paved the way for the revocation of India's suspension from the International Olympic Council.

It was in front of the three IOC observers that various IOA factions displayed a "complete unity" and adhered to many suggestions to avoid any kind of dispute in order to get the country's suspension revoked. This was the prime reason that soon after elections two of the IOC elected joint secretary Anandeshwar Pandey (UP), executive committee member Adhip Das (Orissa) were asked to resign in order to bring down the non-Olympic body representation to 12 in comparison to Olympic body representation of 13, as required by IOC Charter.

Another example of avoiding any confrontation with IOC, two tainted but powerful members of IOA — Abhey Singh Chautala and Lalit Bhanot — decided against casting their votes.

It was also decided at the eleventh hour to bar All India Football Federation from attending special GBM as well as elections on the ground that it did not follow the "proper procedure" while sending names of their delegates.

The polls were conducted in the presence of three IOC observers headed by Dr Robin Mitchell, Pere Miro and Jerome Poivey. Mitchell said that a decision on revoking India's suspension from the Olympic Movement will be taken before the closing ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at IOC's executive committee meeting on February 23.

But talking to dna, Miro dropped a clear hint that "it is quite possible that India contingent at the Sochi will be able to walk under National Flag at the time of closing ceremony".

"We'll hand over our report to IOC president Thomas Bach by Monday evening in Sochi. Don't worry, IOA is in safe hands and there should not be any delay in its return to Olympic family," a smiling Miro said it all.

When asked about his reaction to a situation if newly elected president may be charge-sheeted in the coming days because of the running cases in different courts of law, Miro reaction was plain and simple. "The Constitution approved by IOA is one of the most advanced that we have in the Olympic movement. And taken this into consideration or the situation and especially to a person that misbehaves, we fully trust that this constitution will be implemented and if this is done you can absolutely be relaxed and count that this situation will be tacked effectively."

Earlier, a total of 138 votes were cast to elect eight vice-presidents out of contesting nine. As expected, Rajlaxmi Singh Deo polled 35 out of 138 and thus failed to get elected.

In his first reaction, president Ramachandran also hoped that Indian athletes will soon be able to complete under Indian flag.

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