Ace shooter Abhinav Bindra refused to react to the personal attack launched against him by Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Abhey Singh Chautala, saying the remarks made by the suspended body's chief do not deserve a rebuttal.
Taking a jibe at the Olympic gold-medallist's father, A S Bindra, who was arrested in 2009 for alleged financial irregularities, Chautala had stated that if Bindra feels that chargesheeted people should be stripped of their positions then "he should throw his father out of his house or leave his house himself."
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Chautala's fury stemmed from the former world champion's sustained campaign against tainted officials in the IOA. The star shooter, however, refused to react.
"To the media wanting a reaction out of me on Mr. Chauthala's statements. Hve nothing to say as it doesn't deserve a reaction. Nothing will deter me and fellow athletes in our goal to clean indian sport nd take it fwd," tweeted Bindra.
Meanwhile, the Sports Ministry also backed Bindra in a statement.
"The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has observed with considerable disquiet, comments by individuals in the media casting aspersions on certain sportspersons who have brought laurels to the country in international sports events," the Ministry said in a statement.
"The Ministry reiterates that it considers international sports awardees as national heroes and has zero tolerance to attacks against sportspersons. The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports remains committed to furthering the cause of Indian sportspersons and sports in India," it added.
Bindra has been outspoken in his criticism of IOA officials in the wake of the India's suspension from the International Olympic Committee due to which the country's athletes are being denied the opportunity to compete under the national flag.
"Ethics is one of the main reason from our suspension. Unless we get that right, we are not going to get back in. Why is that so difficult to understand?" Bindra has stated.
Chautala's comment also drew sharp reaction from the National Rifles Association of India (NRAI) with its president Raninder Singh saying the IOA chief should focus on putting his own house in order.
"It's like the big pot calling the small kettle black. People who live in glasshouses should not make such statements. Our Olympic medallist is being attacked with very shallow words. I know the Bindra family well. He (Bindra) has every right to speak. As NRAI president, I strongly condemn this," Raninder said.
Clean Sports India, an organisation campaigning for the cause of corruption-free sports administration in India, also came out in Bindra's support.
"The statement of Abhey Chautala is highly condemnable, What the Olympic Gold Medal winner said was that people who govern sports should be above board. Mr Chautala should answer ethical question that how he is eligible to occupy the highest position facing charges himself," CSI president Ashwini Nachappa said.
"Instead of giving valid reason for his opposition to IOC's demand to keep criminally charge-sheeted people out of IOA, Chautala tried to drag Abhinav's father into this," she added.
CSI Joint Convener Reeth Abraham said Chautala should not forget about the conviction of his own father, O P Chautala, in a corruption case before raising a finger against Bindra Senior.
"Mr Abhey Chautala should recall that when his father was convicted and sent to jail, we never even talked about it in the media. Why should we talk as the veteran politician has nothing to do with Indian sports. He should have had the grace to remember the recent happenings to his father.
"We appeal to all parties in the Indian Olympic family to engage in the debates in a dignified manner in the coming months to get India back in Olympic Fold. Let us remember the world is watching us," Abraham said.
Image: Abhinav Bindra
Photographs: Feng Li/Getty Images