Under pressure to quit, taintedIndian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi on Saturday said that he will not seek re-nomination in the IOA's upcomingelections and hinted at retiring from sports administration. In a significant development, Kalmadi said that he willmake way for a new generation of sports leaders after havingserved as IOA president for the last 16 years.
Kalmadi, who was arrested and released on bail inconnection with the Commonwealth Games corruption scandal,said he will not seek re-nomination in the elections of theIOA scheduled for November 25.
"I have served Indian sports, for the last four terms asPresident of the IOA, to the best of my abilities and have nowdecided to make way for a new generation of sports leaders,"Kalmadi said. "I would now like to focus on my constituency - Pune and on my family. I am thankful to all the Sports federations and Sports professionals for their support and confidence in myleadership. I am sure the Indian sports will achieve new heights and will soon emerge as a sports powerhouse," headed.
Kalmadi's decision to stay away from the elections comesin the midst of a raging war of words between theInternational Olympic Committee and the IOA on his status inthe wake of the CWG scandal. While the IOC has been putting on the IOA to suspendKalmadi from the post pending disposal of the case, the IOA had refused to act against him.
Kalmadi's decision of not contesting elections comesexactly two years after the end of the 2010 Delhi CommonwealthGames which was hit by a series of corruption cases evenbefore the start of the Games.
Despite being arrested and spent some time in jail,Kalmadi had refused to step down from the post of presidentthough he had written to the IOA acting chief VK Malhotrathat he would not be involved in the day-to-day affairs forsome time.
This, however, did not stop the IOC from putting pressureon the IOA to remove Kalmadi and the world body, in a seriesof letters, said that it would send an election observer tomonitor the polls as there was confusion on his status.
Just a few days back, the IOC had asked the IOA toimmediately suspend Kalmadi, along with his close aides in the CWG Organising Committee Lalit Bhanot and VK Verma till thedisposal of the court cases against them. The world body hadsaid that Kalmadi should also not be allowed to contest the IOA elections.
With Kalmadi deciding not to seek re-nomination in theelections, the contest is likely to be between Indian Boxing Federation Chairman Abhay Chautala and incumbent IOA Secretary General Randhir Singh.
Clean Sports India, a body fighting for corruption-freesports in the country, welcomed Kalmadi's decision not tocontest elections. "It is a welcome decision. We have been fighting forthis. It is the beginning of a new era. The sports reforms cannow be taken to its logical end," BVP Rao, CSI convenor,said. He said former sportspersons should come into sports administration and start a new era. Kalmadi has been a Member of Parliament from 1982. Hebegan his career with National Defence Academy and has been aflying instructor at Indian Air force team at NDA and has alsoparticipated in Indo-Pak war in 1965 and 1971 as an Air Forcepilot.