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May 31 - India's Government should be congratulating the country's sports administrators on staging the Commonwealth Games not trying to force them out of office, the President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Suresh Kalmadi (pictured) has claimed.
India are facing the threat of being banned from the London 2012 Olympics after the Government announced plans to enforce rules that would limit the tenure of senior officials, including Kalmadi, who has been President of the IOA since 1996.
Kalmadi is also the chairman of the organising committee for the Commonwealth Games, which are due to open in New Delhi on October 3 and are seen as the launchpad for a potential bid to host the 2020 Olympics.
Kalmadi has warned that that ambition could now be jeopardised by the row involving the IOA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), who have written to India's Sports Minister M.S Gill to protest about what they claim is Government interference.
The row is also overshadowing the build-up to the Commonwealth Games, the biggest event to be held in India since the 1982 Asian Games.
Kalmadi told Business Standard in an interview: "After the Asian Games 28 years ago, we’re having international games in India.
"Everything was going well.
"What we needed was a pat on our backs."
Kalmadi also warned that the Government should not take the IOC's threats about suspending India from international competition, including London 2012, lightly.
He said: "International Olympic bodies don’t like their authority and autonomy being questioned.
"Ghana and Kuwait are recent examples.
"Their Governments tried to interfere with the management of Olympic-related events and they were suspended from the membership of Olympic Games.
"The Sports Ministry is quoting national guidelines.
"But changes [in tenures] can only come from internal deliberations.
"You can’t enforce them."
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