India threatens to boycott London 2012

Updated: November 26, 2011

One of the main topics of conversation at the Olympic Test events here at Excel Centre in London Docklands has been the threat from India that the nation may boycott the 2012 London Games in protest at the involvement of Dow Chemical as one of the sponsors.

The BBC quoting sources in India reports that “An Indian chief minister has called for a boycott of the London 2012 Olympics if the sponsorship of the Dow Chemical company continues.

Shivraj Singh Chauhan made the call in a letter to Sports Minister Ajay Maken.

Dow has links to the firm behind the Bhopal gas disaster in 1984 that led to thousands of deaths but says the case is now settled. It is to create a fabric wrap for the Olympic stadium.

Mr Singh is chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, where Bhopal is located.”

According to the BB ,, Dow insists that while the past must never be forgotten, its “position as a Worldwide Olympic Partner” represents its “vision for the future”.

Dow has said that although it “never owned nor operated the [Bhopal] plant and the legal claims surrounding the incident were resolved in 1989, long before Dow acquired Union Carbide, we – along with the rest of industry – have learned from this tragic event and have helped to

drive global industry performance improvements to ensure that such incidents never happen again”.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe has defended Dow’s role, saying he was satisfied, “that at no time did Dow operate, own or were involved with the plant either at the time of the [1984] disaster or crucially at the time of the full and final settlement”.

The International Olympic Committee (I.O.C) issued a brief statement saying that that they would “of course oppose a boycott, as ultimately the only people hurt by actions like these would be the athletes themselves”.

As more and more politicians from India and within the United Kingdom add to what has already been said it is inevitable that this will run and run for weeks, maybe months. At the end of the day let us hope great athletes like Mery Kom (and many others like her ) have the

opportunity of representing their country in London 2012. In the world of boxing, she has been a great servant of India and a great role model for all women in that country. She more than most deserves the opportunity of taking part in London 2012.

This morning a London 2012 spokesman said: “We have had absolutely no indication from the Indian NOC that there are any plans or discussions to boycott London 2012″.

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