New Delhi: Former Indian Olympic Association president Vijay Kumar Malhotra today hailed the International Olympic Committee's decision to lift the ban on India, saying the country should now focus on preparing for the Commonwealth and Asian Games scheduled later this year. (Olympic ban on India lifted)
"I am happy that suspension is over and now Indian teams and players will take part in the International events under the national flag," Malhotra said in a statement.
Malhotra said India has always supported the Olympic charter and "hopefully the Olympic movement will become stronger in the country". (Indian flag will fly at Sochi)
Malhotra said with the lifting of the suspension, the IOA should now prepare the teams for the Commonwealth and Asian Games.
"Besides the sports administrators, it is also the duty and responsibility of the sportspersons to gear up for the coming events and put up a good show to bring laurel to the country," he said.
Malhotra appealed to all the National Sports Federations to give their unstinting support to the newly-elected IOA office-bearers.
"It is a time for all of us to put up a united show for the betterment of Indian sports. People of the country are looking up to the IOA with lot of expectations and we should not let them down," he said.
India's Olympic exile came to an end today after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) welcomed the country back into the fold within days of fresh elections in the IOA. (BCCI chief's brother N Ramanachandran elected new IOA chief)
"The IOC Executive Board (EB) reinstated the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of India, the Indian Olympic Association, during an ad-hoc meeting in Sochi today," the IOC said in a statement.
The decision comes after the IOC's three observers for the elections left Indian shores "satisfied with the IOA elections promising to submit a "favourable report to the IOC President".
As a result of the IOC's decision, the Indian athletes will now be able to compete under the national flag at international events.
They had been competing as independent athletes ever since the IOA was slapped with a suspension for failing to comply with the Olympic Charter and its statutes, relating specifically to good governance.
The most immediate effect of this would be seen at the ongoing Winter Olympics in Sochi, where the Indians would now be allowed to carry the tri-colour during the closing ceremony after parading through the opening ceremony under an IOC flag.