New Delhi: Ecstatic at wrestling's re-inclusion in the Olympic Games, Yogeshwar Dutt on Tuesday appealed to the suspended IOA to set its house in order to end India's exile and pave the way for country's athletes to compete under the tri-colour.
"I would like to urge the IOA to mend their ways with the IOC as soon as possible and end India's Olympic exile. It's the athletes who are suffering as they are unable to compete under the tri-colour in major international events," Yogeshwar said.
"Wrestling's re-inclusion in the Olympic movement is a great news for the fraternity. The decision will motivate the upcoming grapplers like Narsingh Yadav, Amit Kumar, Bajrang and others to take up the sport. But what motivates them the most is to go to a championship and play under the Indian flag. That's the biggest incentive," he said.
The Indian Olympic Association has been in exile since December 2012 for electing officials charged with corruption. The world body has asked the IOC to sack "charge-framed" officials through constitutional amendments by October 31 and conduct fresh elections by December 15 to return to the Olympic fold.
The London Olympics bronze-medallist further said the athletes want a clean and effective Olympic body which will help Indian sports to grow.
"We want a clean image of Indian sports. We, the athletes, don't want to become part of the ongoing differences between the IOA and IOC....what we want is to compete for India and win a medal for the country. We feel disappointed and humiliated when we participate under the IOC banner."
Yogeshwar, however, refused to comment on the IOC's directive, which bars any person charged with corruption from holding office in the IOA.
"I don't want to comment on that. We have to abide by the law of the land but, at the same time, we have to adopt IOC's measure to ensure good governance. IOA needs to find out a solution to this in discussion with the IOC to get the suspension lifted," he said.
Yogeshwar is the latest to join the bandwagon for good governance after fellow grappler and two-time Olympic champion Sushil Kumar, Beijing Olympics gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra and multiple grand slam doubles winning tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi raised their voices.
Yogeshwar, who has been advised not to go in for a surgery on the knee which has been diagnosed twice, informed that he is eyeing a November return with an invitational championship in Canada.
"I haven't played a single tournament this year due to my knee problem. Currently, I am focusing on my strength training and it's been one week since I have joined gym. The injury will heal overtime. I am eyeing a November return with the Canadian championship.
"Next year is very important for me. I want to attain peak fitness before competing in the Asian Championship, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Championship," he said.
Yogeshwar will be travelling with the Indian contingent for the upcoming World Wrestling Championships in Budapest, Hungary to practice with them at the training camp and see the new rules introduced to the game.
"It's always better to have first-hand experience to understand the new rules," said the 60-kg freestyle wrestler.
Yogeshwar also urged the government to increase their food budget from Rs 400 a day for an international wrestler's diet and another Rs 250 for his daily food supplements.
"We want the government to increase the budget for our diet to Rs 650 per day apart from Rs 250 for supplements. We are spending Rs 650 on food alone," he said.