New Delhi: In a surprising development, the legendary PT Usha announced on Saturday that she will run for president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) when the sports body holds its election on Dec. 10.
Usha, 58, a multiple Asian Games gold medalist and a fourth-place finisher of the 1984 Olympics 400m hurdles, made the announcement via a tweet.
“With the warm support of my fellow athletes and National Federations, I am humbled and honored to be nominated as President of IOA!” accept and request!, Usha tweeted.
The deadline for submitting nomination papers for the IOA elections expires on Sunday. According to IOA Elections Officer Umesh Sinha, no nomination has been filed for a position so far since the process began on Friday.
A top sprinter in her heyday, Usha has also been voted one of eight Sportspersons of Outstanding Merit (SOM) by the IOA’s Athletes Commission, making her a member of the electoral college.
Affectionately known as ‘Payyoli Express’, Usha is seen as a candidate of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party which nominated her as a Rajya Sabha member in July.
She is one of the most decorated Indian athletes and has won 11 medals, including four gold medals in the 1982 and 1994 Asian Games.
She won all four gold medals at the 1986 Seoul Asan Games – 200 m, 400 m, 400 m hurdles and 4×400 m relay – as well as taking silver in the 100 m.
Usha also won medals in the 100 and 200 meters at the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi. She also won a phenomenal 23 medals, including 14 golds, in the Asian Championships from 1983 to 1998, collectively in the 100m, 200m, 400m hurdles, 4x100m relay and 4x400m relay.
But she is most remembered for missing out on a medal in the final of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics 400m hurdles, where she was beaten by Romania’s Cristieana Cojocaru by one-hundredth of a second.
If elected president on December 10, Usha will become the first sportsperson to represent the country and also become IOA chief since Maharaja Yadavindra Singh, who played a test match in 1934.
Singh was the third IOA president to serve from 1938 to 1960.
The sudden announcement of Usha as a presidential candidate has taken some IOA officials by surprise. Most of them are not ready to talk officially, they just say they have one more day to decide on their future course of action.
Recently, a similar situation occurred in the All India Football Federation (AIFF) when Kalyan Chaubey – a BJP leader from West Bengal and former goalkeeper – ran as a surprise candidate in the elections overseen by the Supreme Court and the top handle. function.
The IOA elections are also being held under the supervision of SC-appointed retired apex judge L Nageswara Rao under the new constitution drafted by him.
The IOA approved the new constitution on November 10 after approval from the International Committee.
The IOA has long been a faction-controlled body and it remains to be seen whether the rival officials will band together for a fight against Usha in light of the new developments.
The 77-member IOA Electoral College has nearly 25 percent former athletes with a large number of current and former athletes including Olympic medalists PV Sindhu, Gagan Narang, Sakshi Malik, Yogeshwar Dutt and MM Somaya as members.
There are 66 members from 33 national sports federations that have nominated one man and one woman each, eight SOMs (four men and four women), two from the Athletes Commission (one man and one woman), and one member of the International Olympic Committee in India, Nita Ambani.
The electoral college of the IOA also has more female members (39) than male members (38).
The IOA polls will be conducted to select one president, one senior vice president, two vice presidents (one male and one female), one treasurer, two joint secretaries (one male and one female), six other members of the Executive Council to choose. two of which (one male and one female) will be from the selected SOMs.
Two members of the Executive Council (one man and one woman) will represent the Athlete Commission.
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