Hyderabad: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President N Ramachandran categorically denied claims of Secretary General Rajeev Mehta that India would be bidding for the 2019 Asian Games following the withdrawal of original hosts Vietnam stating that matter was not discussed at all.
"The IOA has not discussed it at all, so it would not be fair for me to discuss this," IOA chief N Ramachandran said on Day 4 of the SJFI's 37th national convention here last evening.
A month ago Mehta had said in case India hosted the 2019 Asiad, the IOA will not exercise financial powers and will only organise the multi-sporting event, a remark which appeared to stem from the experience of 2010 Commonwealth Games corruption scandal.
"We want to host 2019 Asian Games after Vietnam's withdrawal. We will take a final decision in IOA General Body Meeting which will be held most likely next month (June). We are waiting for the new Government to be formed and hoping to get its approval," Mehta told PTI in an interview .
Indonesia has expressed its willingness to step in as a replacement and a final decision on the host city will be decided on September 20 during the Incheon Asian Games.
India had bid for hosting this year's Asian Games but had lost out to Incheon, South Korea, in 2007. Ramachandran said his main mission during his tenure
at the IOA is to make the association financially independent and free it from depending on the Centre for funding athletes.
"We also have to commercialise the IOA. The idea is to have enough sponsors for each national federation. Many companies are passionate about sports. We will go to them and see how much they can sponsor and tie them up. That way we are no longer dependent on the Government funds like the USAOC who do not take a single penny from the US Government. The IOA must strive to be financially independent."
However, Ramachandran believes though the task of making the IOA self-sufficient is difficult, but not beyond their means.
"All we need is good networking and go hunting for sponsors and make IOA financially independent of the Government sponsors. That money which comes in to the IOA we can give it to the national sports federations or tie them up with the sponsors."
Ramachandran said that corporate tie-ups will bring in greater accountability. "With the tie (with sponsors) there will be greater degree of accountability unlike with the Government funding.
At the moment it is an idea and I hope I implement it by the time I leave after my term. Let me make it clear, I won't be seeking another term and leave after the end of my first term," he added.
Ramachandran pointed out that the IOA wants to make the national sports federations more transparent and accountable in terms of how the funding is used.
"It is the IOA's desire to instill a sense of commitment in all the national federations and also seek transparency in their organisation. We also need to have a greater accountability vis-à-vis in terms of funds we get from the Government and the sponsors."
"Transparency, accountability and the betterment of the athlete is the mantra today. You cannot get away from this and this is what the IOA under my presidency hopes to do," the veteran sports administrator added.
Ramachandran said the IOA is looking at introducing video technology to improve the performance of athletes and also provide another cutting edge to coaches.
"We are still 50 years behind when we compare ourselves with the rest of the world. Many sports federations outside India have gone well ahead of us and if you have sportspersons who do well for India by winning medals at Olympics or Asian Games, it is because of their sheer hard work and not because of the sports federations," he said.
"The IOA is planning to introduce video technology to help training of our athletes. We have had discussions with a few companies and the idea is that the IOA will provide it free of cost to the national federations, who will select their top four athletes and we will go to their practice facilities and record them and the video would be analysed.
"The coaches can analyse the videos and recommend changes. This is still in discussion stage but we are looking to finalise it," he added.
The Sports Authority of India had suggested to the IOA in March that the National Games be scrapped or held at the venues where the infrastructure is already present, but Ramachandran is not in favour of this idea.