IOC welcomes India back, opens cash pipeline

Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:48am EST
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By Ossian Shine and Amlan Chakraborty

SOCHI, Russia/NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's return to the Olympic fold switches on a multi-million-dollar pipeline of funds and stokes the giant nation's sporting ambitions.

A chronic under-achiever on every field of play bar the cricket pitch, the world's second-most populous nation has been given a chance to start again with a clean slate, and a new sports leadership, after Olympic chiefs ended its suspension on Tuesday.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) had been ostracized from the Olympic movement for the past 14 months -- although three Indian athletes have been competing at the current Sochi Games under the Olympic flag.

The IOA's crime had been to hold a 2012 election in which a corruption-tainted official was voted in as secretary general.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) baulked, saying its rules on governance had been flouted.

The IOC slapped on the suspension, and turned the cash tap off after the elected officials refused to budge.

"It was a big blow," Indian IOC member Randhir Singh told Reuters on Tuesday.

A little over a year later, India has got its house back in order. Fresh elections were held and a new IOA leadership appointed on Sunday.   Continued...

India's Shiva Keshavan prepares for the start during the men's luge training at the Sanki sliding center in Rosa Khutor, a venue for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics near Sochi February 5, 2014. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch