It is a great moment for the country: Sports minister

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New Delhi, Feb 11 (IANS) Sports minister Jitendra Singh Tuesday congratulated both the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for bringing India back into the Olympic fold.

The IOC executive board during its ad-hoc meeting in Sochi Tuesday decided to lift the 14-month-old ban on India in the wake of “free and fair elections” to the IOA two days ago.

“It is a great moment for the country…as an Indian I am very very thrilled and happy,” said Singh, who had also led a government delegation to IOC headquarters in Lausanne last year.

“The government congratulates the IOA, IOC, sportspersons and people of the country involved in bringing India back to the Olympic movement. It has been a long journey that has lasted more than a year and sportspersons have also raised their voices at Lausanne and at other forums to bring India back again in the Olympic movement,” said Singh.

The IOA was suspended in December 2012 after it failed to comply with the Olympic Charter and its statutes, relating specifically to good governance, during its controversial election process.

As a consequence of the ban, the IOA was no longer entitled to exercise any activity or right, including financial support, conferred upon it by the Olympic Charter or the IOC, since that date.

But in free and fair IOA elections held here Sunday, N. Ramachandran, who also heads the World Squash Federation (WSF), Rajeev Mehta and Anil Khanna, were unanimously elected the president, secretary general and treasurer, respectively.

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