Sports Minister Ajay Maken on Wednesday said the government has not yet thought of pulling the Indian athletes out of London Olympics due to row over Dow Chemicals' sponsorship but said they have lodged a protest with the IOC, keeping in mind the sentiments of Bhopal gas victims.
"As far as participation of our athletes are concerned, we have not yet thought of pulling them out of the London Games. We are monitoring the issue and we have lodged our protest with the IOC on Dow's sponsorship bearing in mind the sentiments of the Bhopal gas victims," said Maken.
"Our athletes are preparing hard for the Olympics and we do not want to distract them," he added.
Clarifying the Ministry's stand on Dow's sponsorship in London Olympics, Maken said, "We have sent three letters to the IOA on December 5, 13 and 14 on the Dow Chemicals issue and we have all the copies of the letters in our office."
The Minister also revealed that when the government took up the Dow issue with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), it was pointed out to them that Indian Olympic Association had not raised any objection when the sponsorship was finalised in July 2010 and also that the IOA itself was associated with the company during the Commonwealth Delhi Games 2010.
"Duringour meeting through diplomatic channels, LOCOG raised two key objections to our concerns with the Dow issue. Firstly, they asked 'why the IOA had not raised the Dow issue when the agreement was finalised in July 2010', and secondly, they asked 'how could the IOA object when it had done business with the company during the 2010 CWG?', said Maken.
Meanwhile, Maken on Wednesday launched a website -- Opex London 2012' -- which will provide comprehensive details about the training and funding of the Olympics-boundIndian athletes.
"Thewebsite will provide details of core probables, coaches, support staff, national coaching camps, international exposure, approximate expenditure, athletes who have qualified so far and the qualifying events," Maken said after unveiling the site.
The minister also disclosed that Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has allowed convergence of Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLADS) with Panchyat Yuva Krida Aur Khel Abhiyan (PYKKA) and the Urban Sports Infrastructure Scheme (USIS)of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
Makenhopes that this will help in creating sports infrastructure in remote areas of the country.