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Does the world care if India boycott Olympics?

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India will not boycott London Games
Bangalore, Mar 5: Indian Olympic Association (IOA) confirmed India's stand that they would not boycott the London Olympics 2012 over the Dow Chemicals sponsorship row.

It is indeed great news for all sports fans and Indian athletes who are preparing for the biggest sporting spectacle in the world. IOA's decision after its executive board's 'special meeting', has now put an end to all speculation surrounding the boycott controversy.

IOA Secretary-General Randhir Singh, said on Friday: "There is no question of a boycott."

According to the Olympic Charter, each National Olympic Committee (NOC), which is a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), is bound to participate in the Games. Failure to adhere to the Olympic Charter will lead to sanctions from IOC.

"The Olympic Charter was redrawn in 1983 after the Moscow Games and there is an obligation on all national Olympic Committees to attend Games," Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Olympic Organising Committee, had said.

Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken, however, said athletes will play an important role in deciding whether to boycott or not.

Dow Chemicals company, is linked to the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy. Union Carbide was held responsible for the gas leak in Bhopal where thousands died. In 1999, Dow bought Union Carbide Company.

Dow is one of the partners for the Games and will create a fabric wrap for the Olympic Stadium in London.

Activists have called for the removal of Dow as the sponsor and IOA had also raised the issue with IOC. There were also reports of a possible boycott of opening and closing ceremonies by India.

But one would like to ask two basic questions here. Whether India have the guts to boycott the Games? and the second, does the world even bother if India decides to pull out?

Olympics are set to start in July. Already, there have been many Indian athletes who have qualified. Is it right to deny an athlete from being a part of the most decorated sporting event in world?

There have been instances of nations boycotting the Games. As far as India are concerned, they are never considered a big sporting nation at Olympics. When it comes to Olympics record, Indian athletes have a pathetic record.

India, of course, have a role to play in the Olympic Movement. But if there is no Indian athlete in London, does anybody miss them. Certainly not. May be the Indian expatriates in the United Kingdom might rue such a move.

The country's Olympic committee, first has to deal with its internal and most urgent matter in determing whether president Suresh Kalmadi stays or not. The decision on that was not reached on Friday. Vijay Kumar Malhotra continues to be the acting president.

If it was a sporting powerhouse like the US or China, then the world might have joined in to air their views. So far, no country has come forward and backed or rejected India's calls for a boycott.

If India had the courage to take a stand, it should have done much earlier rather than dragging it for so long. What are the repercussions in the country. What about sponsors in India for the Games. There are several issues to be dealt with. The most important are the athletes.

Imagine a scenario where we swap Olympics with the cricket World Cup. What are the ramifications for the biggest cricketing event if Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) threatens such an action. The World Cup will certainly be a non-starter. You can never foresee such a day without the game's richest and most followed country missing.

It would be interesting to seek the opinions of athletes who have booked a ticket to the Games. Will they comment on the issue or stay mum? Most likely it would be the latter. Each athlete would love to be in London.

London Games are eagerly awaited and whether India travel to Britain or not, the show will go on.

OneIndia News

Story first published: Monday, March 5, 2012, 17:33 [IST]
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