decks were cleared on Sunday for India's return to the Olympic fold after a 14-month suspension with Indian Olympic Association conducting its polls with N Ramachandran being elected as the president.The election of Ramachandran, chief of World Squash Federation and younger brother of BCCI boss N Srinivasan, as IOA president was a mere formality as he was the lone candidate in the fray for the top post. Kho-Kho Federation of India President Rajeev Mehta and All India Tennis Association (AITA) chief Anil Khanna were also elected unopposed as Secretary General and Treasurer respectively in the polls which marked the exit of corruption-tainted Abhay Singh Chautala and Lalit Bhanot from the IOA.
Voting was done only for eight vice-presidents as there were nine candidates in the fray. One senior vice-president, six joint secretaries and nine executive council members were also elected unopposed. All the office-bearers of the IOA will have a term till 2016, the Olympic year. The three observers from International Olympic Committee said they would submit a "favourable" report to IOC president Thomas Bach and expressed hope that India's suspension would be revoked "sooner than later" Robin Mitchell, IOC member from Fiji and the seniormost among the three, even hinted that India's suspension could be revoked before the end of the ongoing Sochi Winter Olympics so that the three Indians taking part in the Games can hold the tri-colour in the closing ceremony on February 23.
"We are very happy at the way the proceedings have happened today. We are reaching Sochi tomorrow and will submit our report to IOC President and it is upto him when to call the Executive Board meeting to decide on India's return. We hope it will happen sooner than later," Mitchell said. Asked about any time frame, he said, "The IOC Executive Board is meeting before the closing ceremony of Sochi Winter Olympics and hopefully the EB will decide to revoke India's suspension in that meeting. We want Indian athletes to take part in the closing ceremony with the national flag," he said. Meanwhile, earlier in the day All India Football Federation was barred from attending the special GBM as well as elections of Indian Olympic Association in New Delhi on the ground that it did not follow the "proper procedure" while sending names of their delegates, a charge which the AIFF has denied.