Legendary Indian sprinter PT Usha has become the first woman President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) as she emerged as the lone candidate for the post in the December 10 elections. The multiple Asian Games gold medallist filed her nomination papers for the job on Sunday along with her team for the various posts.
The deadline to file nomination papers for the IOA elections ended on Sunday. The prolific sprinter has been reportedly elected as one of the eight Sportspersons of Outstanding Merit (SOM) by the Athletes Commission of the IOA, becoming an electoral college member.
With this, she also becomes the first Olympian and first international medallist to head the IOA in its 95-year-old history, adding another feather to her illustrious cap. PT Usha is also the first sportsperson to have represented the country and become IOA Chief since Maharaja Yadavindra Singh, who played one Test match in 1934.
The IOA polls were held to elect 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 Executive Council members, out of which two (one male and one female) shall be from the elected SOMs. In addition, two members of the Executive Council (one male and one female) will be Athletes' Commission representatives.
According to reports, Ajay Patel of the National Rifle Association of India is set to be the senior Vice President as he is also the lone candidate for the post. Meanwhile, Olympic medallist shooter Gagan Narang will be the only candidate for the post of Vice President.
Two candidates - Rajilaxmi Singh Deo and Alaknanda Ashok - have filed nominations for the post of woman Vice President. While Indian Weightlifting Federation President Sahdev Yadav will be elected unopposed as Treasurer.
Speaking of PT Usha, she is one of the most decorative Indian athletes, having won 11 medals, including four gold in the Asian Games from 1982 to 1994. She clinched all four gold medals in the 1986 Seoul Asian Games - 200m, 400m hurdles and 4*400m relay - and also bagged a silver in the 100m.