Indian sprint queen PT Usha and Olympic bronze medallist wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt have been included in the eight sportspersons of outstanding merit (SOMs) list. The news about the inclusion was created by the newly-elected Athletes Commission to vote during the December 10 elections of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
The other six SOMs are M M Somaya (hockey), Rohit Rajpal (tennis), Akhil Kumar (boxing), Suma Shirur (shooting), Aparna Popat (badminton) and Dola Banerjee (archery). But, the names of these eight athletes weren’t officially notified to Justice (retired) L Nageswara Rao, who has been enlisted by the Supreme Court to prepare the IOA constitution and hold elections.
Under the new IOA constitution prepared by Justice Rao, the eight SOMs are will be a part of the General Assembly with voting rights. The SOMs will also include four male and four female members. The IOA has already approved the constitution under a mandatory directive of the Supreme Court.
"Yes, the selection of the eight SOMs has been done by the Athletes Commission and Justice LN Rao will notify it. It (the selection) went well," a source close to the selection process told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
More than 70 retired sportspersons had applied for the roles of eight SOMs and the IOA’s Athletes Commission formed a five-member sub-committee to create a list of the candidates. Reports also say that some members of the Athletes Commission wanted the entire selection process -- like the criteria, the points system -- to be made public.
The 10-member Athletes Commission was elected on November 14. Then boxing stalwart M C Mary Kom was appointed as the president while table tennis ace Achanta Sharath Kamal was made her deputy. The other members of the Athletes Commission are PV Sindhu, Shiva Keshavan, Mirabai Chanu, Gagan Narang, Rani Rampal, Bhavani Devi, Bajrang Lal and OP Karhana.