The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has hailed Randhir Singh's re-election as the secretary-general of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and described the development as a testimony of India's [ Images ] growing prowess in the sporting world.
"Randhir Singh's re-election for a record sixth term shows that OCA wants to make full use of his experience as sports administrator," IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra said.
He said it is a matter of pride for India that Randhir is also the IOC member and vice-president of the Commonwealth Games [ Images ] Federation (CGF).
"No foreigner has raised any objection about his continuing in these posts for more than two terms," the IOA chief added.
Randhir was re-elected for a four-year term in absentia on Thursday as he could not attend the OCA General Assembly meeting at Tokyo because of personal reasons.
"Yet all the 45 countries reposed the trust in him shows the high regards Indian sports administrators have in the International fora," Malhotra insisted.
Malhotra also chose the occasion to come hard on the Sports Ministry for continuously trying to infringe on the autonomy of National Sports Federations (NSFs).
"The sports ministry wants the National Sports Federations to be deprived of experienced administrators. If our sports minister (Ajay Maken [ Images ]) had his way Randhir would not have got re-elected to the OCA, mercifully that was not the case," he said.
The IOA acting president urged the Sports Minister not to interfere in the autonomy of sporting bodies by enforcing the tenure and age limitation guidelines.
"Nowhere in the sports world this is applicable, so why the minister here is so keen to apply the guidelines is not clear.
"There is no tenure or age bar for MPs, MLAs or minister. There is also no guidelines of age or tenure in the hundreds of thousands registered societies or NGOs, why sports bodies or its officials are being targeted? Malhotra asked.
"The need of the hour is to improve the standard of sports. To fight the menace of doping and to prepare for London [ Images ] Olympics [ Images ]. I urge the sports minister to focus on these areas rather than indulging in a witch hunt of sports administrators," he added.
Malhotra asserted that IOA is willing to provide all possible co-operation to the Sports Ministry in its effort to improve the sporting structure in the country, but he said the government also must ensure that Olympic charter is respected.