India's Olympic body seeks to clarify contentious awards

NEW DELHI (AP) Already threatened with being suspended and stripped of its government funding, the Indian Olympic Association has stepped back from a proposal to appoint two tainted former officials as honorary life presidents.

Tirlochan Singh, a senior IOA official, said IOA president N. Ramachandran wrote a letter to the sports minister on Monday explaining that the honorary awards, which caused a furore within the Indian sports community, were just a proposal and not been bestowed.

India's sports ministry earlier said government recognition of the IOA would be revoked unless the honorary positions for Suresh Kalmadi and Abhay Singh Chautala were withdrawn.

Kalmadi and Chautala, former IOA presidents, had been unanimously proposed for the positions, which were largely ceremonial and did not give any voting rights, during an annual IOA meeting last month in Chennai.

There was no immediate comment by India's Sports Minister Vijay Goel on Tuesday.

Kalmadi spent time in jail on corruption charges relating to the 2010 Commonwealth Games before being released on bail. Chautala is facing trial on finance-related matters.

While Kalmadi said he would not accept the IOA's honorary post until he was cleared in court, Chautala reportedly said he'd leave a decision on the award to the International Olympic Committee.

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