IOA chief bats for politicians leading National Sports Federations

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New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) Despite the growing chorus of replacing politicians with sportspersons to lead the various National Sports Federations (NSF), Indian Olympic Association (IOA) President Narinder Batra on Saturday stirred a controversy by saying lawmakers at the helm is “good for Indian sports”.

Citing the rich haul of medals in various disciplines headed by politicians at the recently held Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Batra, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) President said he doesn’t buy the argument of keeping politicians out of sports administration.

“Sixty out of the 66 medals India won in the CWG were by players from NSFs being headed by politicians. Badminton, table tennis, wresting, weightlifting, shooting to name a few are headed by politicians and they are giving medals to the country,” Batra said at a felicitation function of the badminton players who have won medals at the CWG.

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“Politicians heading NSFs are not bad but they are actually good for Indian sports,” he added.

Batra also said that country should aim to win “double digit” medals at the Tokyo Olympics and around 25 at the 2024 games in Paris.

The IOA president feels that a good show will then help them gain public support in its bid to host the 2032 Summer Games.

“Our target should be to win medals in double digits in 2020 Tokyo Olympics and around 25 medals at the 2024 Paris Olympics. This we need as we want to bid for 2032 Olympics. It is difficult to win public support (to bid for Olympics) if we do not do well and win medals in the Olympics itself,” Batra said.

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“We have to plan for 2020 and 2024 Olympics and we have to find the talent in the country. We have to do this together with the national federations as well as government.

“We have to work with the government as they are having schemes like Target Olympic Podium Scheme,” he added.

–IANS

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