IOA elections PT Usha to be officially elected as first woman president

Gun Rights

New Delhi: The legendary PT Usha will be officially elected as the first woman president of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) during the governing body’s polls on Saturday, ushering in a new era in country’s sports administration.
The 58-year-old Usha, a multiple Asian Games gold medallist and fourth place finisher in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics 400m hurdles final, will be declared elected unopposed for the top post in the polls being held under the supervision of Supreme Court-appointed retired SC judge L Nageswara Rao.
The elevation of Usha to the top job will also mark the end of the long drawn crisis in the faction-ridden IOA, which was warned of a possible suspension by the International Olympic Committee if elections, originally due in December last year, are not held this month.
The elections will be held to choose joint secretary (female) and four ordinary members of the executive council and 77 members of the electoral college will cast their votes.
Alaknanda Ashok of Badminton Association of India and Suman Kaushik of Netball Federation of India are in the fray in a straight fight for the joint secretary’s (female) post.
The voters will choose four members of the executive council out of the eight candidates in the fray.
The eight candidates are Amitabh Sharma, Bhupender Singh Bajwa, Cyrus Poncha, Harjinder Singh, Harpal Singh, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Rohit Rajpal and Vitthal Shirgaonkar.
It will be an altogether new responsibility for Usha, an iconic track and field star, as she has no experience of holding any top office earlier. She is currently the chairperson of junior selection committee of Athletics Federation of India. She has also been in the various national awards committees set up by the government, over the years.
Usha, fondly known as the ‘Payyoli Express’, is being seen as a candidate of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which had nominated her as a Rajya Sabha member in July.
She will also become the first Olympian and first international medallist to head the IOA in its 95-year-old history, adding another feather in her cap after dominating Indian and Asian athletics for two decades before retiring in 2000 with a bagful of international medals.
Usha is the first sportsperson to have represented the country and also become IOA chief since Maharaja Yadavindra Singh, who played a Test match in 1934. Singh was the third IOA president who held office from 1938 to 1960.
Ajay Patel of National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) will be elected unopposed as senior vice-president. Olympic medallist shooter Gagan Narang and Rowing Federation of India president Rajlaxmi Singh Deo will also be elected unopposed as vice presidents.
Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF) president Sahdev Yadav will be the treasurer as he is the lone candidate for the post.
All India Football Federation president and former goalkeeper Kalyan Chaubey will be elected unopposed as the joint secretary (male).
Olympic medallist wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt and archer Dola Banerjee will be in the executive council as male and female representatives of the eight Sportspersons of Outstanding Merit (SOM).

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