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India Olympics Ban Lifted ... On All 3 of Its Athletes in Sochi

Image: India Olympics Ban Lifted ... On All 3 of Its Athletes in Sochi Team India, Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.

By Alexandra Ward   |   Tuesday, 11 Feb 2014 11:02 AM

Athletes from India will now be able to compete under their country's flag at the Sochi Olympics after officials lifted a year-long ban on Tuesday.

The International Olympic Committee suspended India from competition in December 2012 after the country's Olympic Association elected Lalit Bhanot, an official who served jail time for corruption, to a top position. The IOC reversed its ban this week after New Delhi held elections for a new board on Sunday, according to CNN.

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The three Indian athletes in Sochi, who marched under the IOC flag in last week's opening ceremony, will now be able to compete under their country's flag.

"It is the first time in Olympic history that a suspension of an National Olympic Committee has been lifted during an Olympic Games, and the decision will have an immediate impact," the IOC said Tuesday in a statement on its website. "To symbolically mark the lifting of the suspension and in recognition of the three Indian athletes competing in Sochi, the Indian flag will be raised in the Olympic Village."

India's reinstatement brings the total number of countries and territories competing in the Sochi Olympics to 89.

"I am happy that suspension is over and now Indian teams and players will take part in the International events under the national flag," Vijay Kumar Malhotra, the former acting president of Indian Olympic Association, said in a statement.

One of India's athletes, Shiva Keshavan, already finished competing in the luge, but cross-country skier Nadeem Iqbal and slalom skier Hamanshu Thakur are now able to compete for India.

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