Indians to compete at World Games under country's flag

New Delhi, July 6 (IANS) Indian athletes will compete under their national flag at the World Games in Cali, Colombia, later this month notwithstanding the suspension of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The IOC had barred India from the Olympic movement last December for not complying with its charter, thus preventing the athletes from representing the country at major sporting events.

Indian boxers are currently taking part in Asian Championships in Amman, Jordan, under the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) flag, but this will not be the case at the World Games, even though they are recognised by the IOC.

Hermann Kewitz of the International World Games Association (IWGA) told IANS why Indians will carry their flag in Cali.

"They will take part under the India flag because of the peculiar format of the Games. The international federations nominate the athletes for the Games unlike the National Olympics Committees as in the case of the Olympics. So the event is not a matter of the national committees but of the international federations of each participating sport. The athletes will march in behind the flag of their country," said Kewitz.

IOC member from India Randhir Singh endorsed the view.

"IOC backs various world events and the World Games is one of them. But the flag is not an issue here," Randhir Singh said.

According the Games organisers, 10 Indians have confirmed their participation across disciplines such as roller sports (2), billiards (2), squash (4) and archery (2).

The World Games, introduced in 1981, are primarily held for sports which do not feature in the Olympic programme.

According to Kewitz, IWGA has received entries from athletes of 98 countries.

Colombia is hosting the event for the first time. The last edition was held in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

The IWGA is an organisation recognised by the IOC as both share the same values of promoting physical and sporting activities for the well-being of society.

The two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2000 wherein the IOC pledged to provide expertise and to help in the promotion of IWGA activities within the Olympic movement.

The IOC also provides technical assistance to the hosts of the World Games.