Friday, December 8, 2023

WSF President heads India’s path to Olympic redemption

Ramachandran chosen as man to clean up India’s Olympic reputation
By DUNCAN MACKAY – Inside the Games

World Squash Federation (WSF) chief Narayana Ramachandran is set to be elected as the new President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), which is seeking to end its international isolation.

Ramachandran was the only candidate when the deadline closed yesterday. Also unopposed will be Rajeev Mehta and Anil Khanna for the posts of secretary general and treasurer respectively.

Successful elections in New Delhi on February 9 are key to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) lifting a suspension imposed in December 2012 on the IOA after tainted officials Abhay Chautala and Lalit Bhanot were elected as President and secretary general respectively amid allegations of corruption linked to the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games.

But the choice of Ramachandran (pictured above, right), Mehta and Khanna is seen as a victory for Chautala as all three are close allies of his.

Negotiations had been going on for several weeks between Randhir Singh, secretary general of the recognised IOA and also an IOC member, and Chautala.

Singh had reportedly wanted candidates involved in the 2012 elections barred but Chautala claimed that this was unfair and would have ruled out Ramachandran, elected treasurer in that disputed poll.

The election of Abhay Chautala as President of the India Olympic Association had led to its suspension by the International Olympic Committee. 

Ramachandran, a former businessman with India Cements Limited, one of the country’s largest manufacturer of cement with interests in sugar, shipping, power, trading and finance, has been President of the WSF since 2008.

He had previously led the Squash Rackets Federation of India and been President of the Indian Triathlon Federation.

His brother Narayanaswami Srinivasan is President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the most powerful and richest sports federation in India.

Mehta is currently vice-president of Hockey India and Khanna is President of the All India Tennis Association.


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