After a 14 month ban by the International Olympic Committee, India has finally been allowed to fly its flag at the Sochi Winter Olympics. The tricolor flew one week after the winter games began, and brought a symbolic end to over a year of corrupted officials who managed to taint the country’s good name and chance to proceed in the Olympics. A new Indian Olympic Association board was elected to replace the old board.
Speaking about the lifting of the ban and India’s flag flying at Sochi, the new president for the Indian Olympic Association, Narayna Ramachandran said: “I am absolutely thrilled and delighted. It’s a tremendous boost for Indian sports.”
Ramachandran said that the national Indian sports bodies were suffering as they were unable to obtain grants from the International Olympic Association or the Indian government.
“To have the ban lifted in two days was truly amazing,” said the new president.
India sent three athletes to the Winter Olympics in Russia but they competed as independent athletes due to the ban. However, with the lifting of the restrictions on the Indian team, they have been invited to march behind the Indian flag at the closing ceremony this weekend.
Five times Olympic winner the luger Shiva Keshavan is representing India along with the Alpine skier Thakur Himanshu and cross country skier Nadeem Iqbal. All three had hoped that the ban would be lifted before the opening ceremony and were disappointed when it wasn’t.
“I have been at the Olympics before but it really didn’t do justice to my team mates so I hope one of them get to carry the flag in the closing ceremony,” said Keshavan.
Keshaven said that while the symbolic change in the Indian Olympic Committee has taken place, it was more important to see “the real change”.
“Now we need to see some more facilities come to winter sports,” he said. “They have the power to make a difference.”
He said that the dreams and aspirations of young athletes “now rest on the shoulders of the new administration.”