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IOA Elections: PT Usha to become first woman President with no nominations filed on deadline day

IOA Elections: PT Usha is all set to become the first woman President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) in its 95-year history after no nominations were filed for the post on Sunday's deadline day

Aditya Pimpale Written By: Aditya Pimpale @AdityaPimpale6 New Delhi Published on: November 28, 2022 11:10 IST
IOA Elections
Image Source : TWITTER IOA Elections: PT Usha to become first woman President with no nominations filed on deadline day

Former Indian athlete and Member of Parliament, PT Usha is all set to take over the helm as the first woman President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). 58-year-old Usha, who was recently nominated for the Rajya Sabha will now take over the charge as the President of the IOA on December 10, when the official procedure comes to an end.  

"With the warm support of my Fellow Athletes and National Federations I am humbled and honoured to accept and file for the Nomination of the President Of IOA!," Usha had tweeted earlier.

The deadline to file nomination papers for the IOA elections ended on Sunday (November 27). According to IOA elections returning officer Umesh Sinha no nomination were filed for the post since the process began on Friday. Usha, a top sprinter in her heyday, has also been elected as one of the eight Sportspersons of Outstanding Merit (SOM) by the Athletes Commission of the IOA, making her an electoral college member.

Usha, fondly known as '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 is one of the most decorated Indian athletes, having won 11 medals, including four gold in the Asian Games from 1982 and 1994. She won all the four gold in the 1986 Seoul Asan Games -- 200m, 400m, 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay -- and also bagged a silver in the 100m.

Usha also won a 100m and 200m medals in the 1982 New Delhi Asian Games. She also won a phenomenal 23 medals, including 14 gold, in the Asian Championships from 1983 to 1998, collectively in 100m, 200m, 400m hurdles, 4x100m relay and 4x400m relay. But she is most remembered for missing out on a medal in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics 400m hurdles final, where she was beaten by Cristieana Cojocaru of Romania by one hundredth of a second.

She is now set to be the President of IOA on December 10 where Usha will become 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.

The IOA elections are also being held under the supervision of SC-appointed retired apex court judge L Nageswara Rao under the new constitution prepared by him. The IOA adopted the new constitution on November 10 after getting approval from the International Committee.

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The IOA has been a faction-ridden body for long and it remains to be seen if the rival officials come together for a fight against Usha in the light of the new developments. The 77-strong IOA electoral college has nearly 25 per cent former athletes with a host of current and former sportspersons, including Olympic medallists P V Sindhu, Gagan Narang, Sakshi Malik, Yogeshwar Dutt and M M Somaya among its members.

There are 66 members from 33 National Sports Federations which have nominated one male and one female each, eight SOMs (four male and four female), two from the Athletes Commission (one male and one female) and a member of International Olympic Committee in India, Nita Ambani. The IOA electoral college also more women members (39) than male (38).

The IOA polls will now be held to elect one senior vice-president, two vice-presidents (one male and one female), one treasurer, two joint secretaries (one male and one female), six other Executive Council members, out of which two (one male and one female) shall be from the elected SOMs. Two members of the Executive Council (one male and one female) will be the Athletes' Commission representatives.

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