An ongoing spat between the seniormost officials of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) seems to have been sorted out for now. Secretary-general Rajeev Mehta gave a call to settle things, a day after president Narinder Batra appealed for an end to the infighting.
“We were very positive from the beginning and we never intervened in anybody’s territory. It is good everyone wants to settle things amicably. We too want to let it happen in the right manner,” Mehta said on Monday.
Batra, in a statement on Sunday, said: “I appeal to all officials and members of the IOA to shun infighting and work collaboratively (in) the best interests of athletes and development of their respective sports.”
The tussle between the top IOA officials began in March when Batra told Mehta he can take over a few of his responsibilities and ‘share the workload’. Mehta and his supporters questioned the motive of the statement, and the validity of Batra’s election as president of IOA and international hockey federation (FIH).
IOA vice-president Sudhanshu Mittal wrote to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) seeking an inquiry into Batra’s election to both posts. IOC and FIH rejected the complaints. Batra and Mehta also have had differences over the resumption of sporting activities after the nationwide lock down for Covid-19 ended.
“I’m always in favour of taking things in a positive manner. I know my responsibilities very well and never tried to overpower others in the sporting body,” Mehta said. “It’s time to work collectively for the betterment of sports and sportspersons of India.”
IOA treasurer, Anandeshwar Pandey said the infighting was hurting IOA’s image. “IOA cut a sorry figure at the IOC, and even sponsors were in a fix. This isn’t the first time difference of opinion among IOA officials has cropped up, but it never came out in the public like this time.
“For now things seem to have settled, but it can come to surface during the next elections of IOA in December 2021.”