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India Back in Olympics as IOC Lifts Ban

India's athletes will now be able to march behind the Indian flag at the Sochi Games closing ceremony.
A file picture taken on Feb. 7 shows then Independent Olympic Participants entering during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi. ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP - Getty Images
/ Source: Reuters

India has returned to the Olympic fold after the IOC lifted a ban on the country's Olympic Association on Tuesday, and its athletes will now be able to march behind the Indian flag at the Sochi Games closing ceremony.

India's athletes have been competing in Sochi under the Olympic flag due to the country's suspension, imposed after the country held a 2012 Olympic association (IOA) election in which a corruption-tainted official was voted in as secretary general.

On Sunday the IOA elected a new set of officials. World Squash Federation chief N. Ramachandran was elected president with All India Tennis Association chief Anil Khanna becoming treasurer in polls which marked the exit of corruption-tainted Abhay Singh Chautala and Lalit Bhanot from the IOA.

"It's great news for the Indian athletes," Randhir Singh, International Olympic Committee member from India, told Reuters.

"IOA has finally realized that the Olympic Charter is supreme and you have to fall in line and follow the principles of ethics and good governance. Tainted officials have no place in IOA."

The decision marks the first time a suspension of a National Olympic Committee has been lifted during an Olympic Games, and will have an immediate impact.

Indian athletes entered the Sochi Games under the Olympic flag during the opening ceremony on Feb. 7, and have competed as Independent Olympic Participants.

The IOC's decision means they can now compete for India and will walk behind their national flag at the closing ceremony on Feb. 23.