Kalmadi and Olympics Invitation

There is an interesting Olympics invitation from International Association of Athletic Federation (IAAF) to President of Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Suresh Kalmadi.  What could be interesting in this?  President of a country’s Olympic Association should definitely have a right to attend Olympics, right?

The only small print here is that Kalmadi is accused and charged with serious crime of corruption, bribery and misuse of funds during 2010 Commonwealth (CWG) Games organisation at Delhi.  The case is still in court and he has spent almost 9 months in jail due to the charges.  Delhi court gave permission to Kalmadi to attend the London games, but Kalmadi has been asked to give a bond of Rs. 10 lakh by the special CBI court.

The invitation has generated a huge outcry in Indian Sports and public circle.  Sports Minister of India, Ajay Maken – who is from the very same party of Kalmadi – has said that Kalmadi should not attend Olympics.  Mr Maken also said to reporters that he has taken up the matter with IOA and have asked IOA to speak to IAAF and IOC (International Olympic Committee).  He has also categorically stated that Kalmadi will not be part of any official delegation from India.

Corruption, bribery and misuse of funds are nothing new for this Member of Parliament from Pune, Maharashtra.  A few of them are here, courtesy Hindustan Times and NDTV.  A quick search Internet search on CWG scam will bring in further details, including the vehicle hire scam at London, during 2009 Queen’s baton relay as part of CWG games.

Is Kalmadi’s visit to London Olympics morally justifiable?  I think not.  A corrupt politician who is accused of cheating and bribery should not have a place in world’s biggest sporting event.  His sheer presence at Olympic village will de-moralize the Indian team; it will also generate negative publicity for Indian Sports world.

The IAAF invitation is totally ignoring Indian Sports sentiments and a disgrace for wider Sports world.  The invitation should be cancelled with immediate effect; otherwise, it will be considered as an IAAF approval stamp for corruption.

It is unfortunate that vote banks downplay democracy and allow corrupt politicians to rise up to the level of Parliament.  Let us sincerely hope the ever- alert Pune voters will realise and ensure that Kalmadi will never reach the Parliament, even if he try for another term from Pune.   The only invitation for politicians like Kalmadi – with prisoner number, address jail – should be for the dustbin of history.

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