CHENNAI: He may have taken charge as chairman of the All India Council of Sports, but veteran sports administrator Vijay Kumar Malhotra knows very well the predicament and numerous challenges the post will pose. Appointment of the senior BJP member has already raised quite a few eyebrows, especially considering his age, but knowing Malhotra’s ability to wade out of choppy waters, his tenure is expected to be subtle and calculative.
The first thing he believes would be to bring both the sports ministry and Indian Olympic Association together so that they can work towards the development. With recent controversies regarding cooling off period to get elected as president after serving full term as secretary, which has already put tennis and judo federations at loggerheads with the ministry, Malhotra would try and resolve differences as early as possible.
“I can’t say what I will be doing right now, but I will be looking into it and will discuss the contentious points in the sports code with all stakeholders,” he told Express from Delhi. “But first I have to meet the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi), who has been busy with elections in Bihar, to discuss the way forward. There are around 20-odd subjects that we are supposed to look into. As I said I have to meet the PM first to work out a plan. Let’s see what happens.”
The octogenarian was confident he would be able to do a good job and keep the ministry and IOA happy. “For the betterment of sports, it is necessary that both national sports federations and sports ministry work together,” said the 83-year-old. “Right now, our priority is to prepare for the Olympics and I would not want that to be affected because of our differences. I have a meeting with the ministry almost every second day.”
Clearing the confusion on whether the Amateur Archery Association also flouted the age rule by appointing veteran sports administrator Tarlochan Singh as president after he vacated the post, Malhotra said: “Being the senior vice-president and according to AAA constitution, Singh was eligible to take over after I vacated. He is the acting president and until next elections, he will continue. We have not flouted any rule.” The association was de-recognised by the sports ministry in 2012 for flouting age rules and tenure issue, especially by Malhotra, who refused to step down.
“Whatever we are doing now in AAA is in compliance with the constitution. I think archery is in good hands under its secretary Anil Kamineni,” said Malhotra, who felt that without the IOA and ministry working in tandem, sports cannot be taken to the masses. “We have to make it a priority in our country and improve sports culture. For that everyone has to work together.”