India At The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

The XXII Olympic Winter Games, or the 22nd Winter Olympics is currently being held at Sochi, Russia (7th Feb 2014 – 23rd Feb 2014). This winter olympic games is already marred by the by major controversies, including allegations of corruption leading to the aforementioned cost overruns, concerns for the safety and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) athletes and supporters during the Games due to the country’s recent restrictions on the promotion of LGBT sexual relationships (which have led to ongoing protests) and various security concerns over threats by jihadist groups tied to the insurgency in the North Caucasus. Several fans from various nations have opted to boycott watching the games due to these factors.

Here’s my 2 cents worth – I wouldn’t boycott watching the Olympics if its an event I would normally watch. I’d still support my teams/athletes and watch the sports that I love. The sportsmen & women have not done anything wrong, so I’d support them and keep watching. But if there’s any way I can show my displeasure & disapproval to Mr. Putin and his government in other ways, I’d join in. But my issue is something else altogether and it’s to do with India and not Russia. One look at the different countries who’s athletes will be competing in the various sports sees a large nation missing – ofcourse it’s India! India has never had much success at the Summer Olympics, much less the Winter ones. We normally send one or two people to the Winter games (I’m not joking; last time in Vancouver we had 3 Indians representing our nation). This year I checked the competing nations and found no Indian flag! But there are 3 Indian athletes at the Olympics and they will competing.

Himanshu Thakur (Men’s Giant Slalom), Nadeem Iqbal (Men’s 15km Classical) and Shiva Keshavan (Luge Men’s Singles) are all Indians competing in their respective sport but will be under the Independent Olympic Participants category. This is because the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), who are responsible for selecting athletes to represent India, is suspended on 4 December 2012 due to non adherence of International Olympic Committee rules and on the basis of corruption, government interference. Several members of the IOA have been charged with crimes. The IOA was formally banned for not following the Olympic Charter in their elections, instead following the Indian government’s Sports Code. The IOA held elections under the Indian Sports Code due to a directive from the Delhi High Court. On 15 May 2013, International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to lift the ban on the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) as Indian representatives from the government and sports bodies reached an agreement with IOC officials but the suspension remained. It was announced on December 31, 2013 that India would be competing under the Olympic flag in Sochi. Elections by the Indian Olympic Association are scheduled two days after the opening ceremony, which would not provide enough time for the suspension to be lifted.

A shame India, a goddamn fucking shame indeed! My heart goes out to the 3 athletes and I hope they do well.

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