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Press Release: ANOC welcomes reinstatement of Indian Olympic Association

17 Feb 2014
Sochi: The Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) today offered its backing to the newly reinstated Indian Olympic Association (IOA), pledging to support its reintegration to the Olympic Movement and facilitate the full participation of Indian athletes at all Olympic Games, following the ceremony to raise the Indian flag at the Sochi 2014 Mountain Olympic Village yesterday.

The flag-raising ceremony came after Tuesday’s decision by the IOC Executive Board to lift the suspension on the IOA. The decision was made after a report on the IOA’s recent General Assembly and elections of a new board confirmed that the NOC had fully respected their new constitution and complied with all IOC requirements. It is the first time in Olympic history that the suspension of an NOC has been lifted during an Olympic Games. As well as participating in the raising of the Indian flag at the Olympic Village, Indian athletes will now be allowed to walk behind their national flag at the Closing Ceremony on 23 February.

ANOC President, Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al-Sabah, said:

“We welcome the reinstatement of the Indian Olympic Association by the IOC Executive Board and look forward to welcoming them back into the ANOC family. We commend the IOC for conducting such a rigorous and comprehensive review of the IOA’s governance and we are delighted that the Indian athletes here in Sochi will now have the opportunity to compete for their country. Their reinstatement brings the total number of countries represented at the Games to 88 – a new record. ANOC will work closely with the IOA to provide the support and assistance they need to ensure that at all future Olympic Games, Indian athletes will be able to compete under their nation’s flag.”

Three Indian athletes qualified for Sochi 2014: Himanshu Thakur in alpine skiing; Nadeem Iqbal in cross country skiing; and Shiva Keshavan in luge.

Shiva Keshavan, a five-time Olympian, said:

“We’re very proud. It’s like a whole new Olympics for us. It’s great that the IOC acted very quickly once we had the elections to allow this situation to happen so the flag can be in Sochi. We have the support of our whole country. Obviously people who watch the Olympic Games and support international events want to see the athletes represent the country and represent them. They have so much passion.

“Now it is time for a fresh start. The flag is full of symbolism for us because we’ve all been training so hard. But now we need to see real changes, development and opportunity for the athletes.”

Speaking following the flag raising ceremony, IOC Executive Board member and ANOC Senior Vice-President, Patrick Hickey, added:

"The flag raising ceremony was an historic and highly symbolic event. You could see just what it meant to the athletes. We want as many NOCs as possible to be officialy represented at the Olympic Games and so we are thrilled that the IOA has fulfilled the requirements to get the suspension lifted.

”As a member of the IOC Executive Board I was delighted to be given the assurances that  the IOA had fully respected their new constituion at their General Assembly. The IOA has worked tirelessly to refine their constitution and ensure that it is as open and transparent as possible and they deserve a lot of credit for that. I have no doubt that under the leadership of Narayana Ramachandran, and with the support of organisations like ANOC in promoting NOC best-practice, the IOA will continue to develop and reinforce its position within the Olympic Movement.”
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