Thomas Bach lauds IOA's commitment towards 'good governance'

The president of International Olympic Committee, said that he had assurances from the IOA and the Sports Ministry to uphold "good governance" and "autonomy" respectively.

IOC chief Thomas Bach, during a press conference in New Delhi.   -  Sandeep Saxena

The president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach said that he had assurances from the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the Sports Ministry to uphold "good governance" and "autonomy" respectively.

Stressing the often repeated phrase that good governance and autonomy were the two sides of the same coin, Bach, visiting India for the second time after 2015, said that there would be a quadrupartite panel of experts from the IOC, Olympic Council of Asia, IOA and Sports Ministry to not only study the issues of compliance and autonomy, but also "to device a road map on how best to prepare the Indian athletes for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics".

Appreciating the expression of "good governance as priority" by the IOA, under the "dynamic leadership of Narinder Batra", and the Sports Ministry recognising "the autonomy of sport", Bach, who addressed the media here on Thursday, pointed out that the United Nations General Assembly had also recognised the autonomy of sport.

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"Otherwise, no international sport can happen. Unless we have same rules everywhere in the world, you can’t have fair competition," he said.

He hoped that both IOA and the government would be clear about the requirements, and not cross the line, leading to a situation similar to a few years ago, when India was suspended from the Olympic Movement.

On the outset, Bach said that the visit of the IOC delegation to India could not have been timed better as the country was rejoicing its fine performance of winning 66 medals in the Commonwealth Games in Gold Cost, which provided a strong hint of the "potential of Indian athletes".

He expressed confidence that India would tap on its great potential and win many medals and show strong performance on the Olympic stage.

The IOC president was also impressed with the assurance given by the Sports Minister, Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, that "fair and clean sports was the first priority of the government".

On his part, the president of IOA, Batra, said that Indian sport would adopt the "the no-needle policy" at the national level and also in training camps, to strengthen the anti-doping measures.

On asked about the possibility of IOC’s intervention in reinstating shooting in 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Bach said that Olympics Games were different from Commonwealth Games, and he can only say that "IOC has no intention to drop shooting from the Olympic programme."

Batra, however, said that the matter would be taken up with the organisers, but underlined the point that the "nation boycotting" Commonwealth Games was "too extreme".

On the possibility of electronic games being part of the Olympics in future, Bach clarified that physical activity, concentration and quick reaction, alone would not suffice and that such games need to comply with the values and principles of the Olympic Movement.

"E-Games which are presentation of violence or any kind of discrimination, they can never be recognised as part of the Olympic Movement," he said.

Batra also assured that IOA would strike gender balance, apart from upholding the principles of good governance.