India is back in the game, officially. After being suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in December 2012, India has been reinstated in the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.
The suspension is a result of the country’s refusal to ban a corruption-tainted official, Lalit Bhanot, from running for elections in the Indian Olympic Association and consequently getting a top post. One of the requirements of the IOC is that persons who have been convicted or charged are not eligible to run for positions within the organization.
Bhanot had been charged with corruption and had spent almost a year in jail prior to being elected to the Indian Olympic Association. The Indian association refused to abide by the changes demanded by the IOC, and the situation created a deadlock, extending up to the start of the Winter Games.
When the Sochi Games started, the saffron, white, and green flag of India was not seen during the opening ceremony parade, but its three athletes were. The delegation, composed of luger Shiva Keshavan and two skiers, marched under an IOC flag.
Before the Winter Games and knowing the situation they were in, Keshavan found a way to represent his country. And what better medium to wear his colors proudly than his uniform? A close look at the white suit shows not only the colors of the Indian flag, but the names of some of the donors who supported the luger.
So what made the IOC end India’s suspension?
On February 9, the Indian Olympic Association held a general assembly and elected a new set of officers. The IOC was in attendance to observe the proceedings, and the delegates reported that the Indian association complied with all of the Committee’s requirements.
The lifting of the suspension means that Keshavan and his countrymen can now race under their own national flag and walk behind it on February 23, during the Games’ closing ceremony. The lifting of a ban of a national committee during the Games is a first in Olympic history.
Image via YouTube