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I’m the IOA president, asserts Adille Sumariwalla | More sports News – Times of India


MUMBAI: A few days after Indian Olympic Association acting president Anil Khanna and secretary-general Sandeep Mehta contradicted his claim of being the new IOA president, Adille Sumariwalla stuck to his guns that he indeed is the boss of the organization.
“I’m the president, that’s all. There’s nothing to discuss,” the former sprinter, who’s president of the Athletics Federation of India since 2012, told reporters on Monday at the announcement of a sponsor tying up with AFI to support India’s women athletes. Brushing off some of the IOA officials’ statements which objected to his claim, Sumariwalla said, “You can say what you want.” When told there was a court order that status quo be maintained at the IOA, he shot back: “Show me the court order. There is no court order.”
Sumariwalla had recently said that he was appointed as the new IOA president by its executive council, after Narinder Batra’s resignation in July. However, Mehta and Khanna didn’t agree to his assertion.
Moving on, discus thrower Navjeet Dhillon Kaur failing a doping test has meant that the scourge of doping still hasn’t stopped dogging Indian athletics, currently enjoying a purple patch due to the amazing feats of Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra and the rest. Sumariwalla felt that AFI was educating athletes about doping and had increased testing multiple times.
“Before I became president, we used to have 120 samples a year we used to test. Today we are testing over 1500 samples. “If more people get tested, more people will get caught. Our idea is to catch more people. None of them (the dope offenders) were in the (national) camp (when they consumed a banned substance). Whatever has happened is outside camp. In the camp, we test them every few days. Dhanalakshmi (the sprinter, who failed a dope test this May) has admitted that when she went to Tamil Nadu, somebody gave her something. So we try to control it in the camp,” Sumariwalla explained.
However, he asserted that AFI could do little if an athlete decided to cheat. “AFI can only do two things. educate and test. But if you want to do something wrong, how can I stop you from cheating? It’s a moral issue. I can’t change your moral fabric,” he stressed.
Sumariwalla pointed out that women in India’s hinterland were still living a highly restricted life. He said that it was important that India’s female athletes made a good amount of money and led a luxurious lifestyle, something that might inspire girls around the country to take up sports professionally.
“I have maybe visited some 100 districts in India personally. [In many places] Girls are not allowed to even go out of their houses. So we have to make the change,” he said. “You need champions like Annu Rani, Hima Das or Dutee Chand. People say, ‘Dutee Chand is driving a BMW (she sold it later), we should also be able to drive a BMW’. We want our athletes to do well. We want them to make money so others see there’s a future in sports, not only cricket,” he stressed.





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