Track and Field Icon PT Usha set to Become First Female President of IOA

By: WE Staff | Monday, 28 November 2022

Legendary athlete P T Usha is set to become the first female president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) in the sports body's 95-year-long history.

Usha will also be the first Olympian and an international medallist to head the national Olympic committee, which goes to polls on December 10.

The 58-year-old multiple Asian Games gold medallist emerged as the lone candidate to file the nomination for IOA president's post. Returning officer Umesh Sinha didn't receive any nominations on first two days of filing the papers on Friday and Saturday, but 24 candidates applied for various office-bearers' posts on Sunday.

Sources had reported on Sunday that Usha will be filing her nomination for the IOA's top post. Usha, who will be elected unopposed, is also one of the eight 'Sportspersons of Outstanding Merit' (SOMs) selected by the M C Mary Kom-led Athletes Commission of IOA.

Usha, who missed out on a bronze by the one hundredth of a second at the Los Angeles Olympics, finishing fourth, was congratulated by several figures on twitter for her unopposed election, including former union sports and current law minister Kiren Rijiju, who wrote: "Congratulations to legendary Golden Girl, Smt. PT Usha on being elected as the president of Indian Olympic Association. I also congratulate all the sporting heroes of our country on becoming the office bearers of the prestigious IOA! Nation is proud of them".

Fondly known as the 'Payyoli Express', Usha will be the first sportsperson to have played for the country at the highest level and also become the IOA chief since Maharaja Yadavindra Singh, who featured in a cricket Test match in 1934. Usha retired in 2000 after dominating the Indian and Asian athletics for close to two decades.

She won 11 Asian Games medals, including four gold in a single edition at the 1986 Seoul meet, while clinching an astonishing 23 medals, including 14 gold, at the Asian Championships from 1983 to 1998.

Similarly, Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWLF) president, Sahdev Yadav, is set to be elected the new treasurer of the IOA, with All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Kalyan Chaubey as the male joint secretary.

There will be contest for the lone female joint secretary's post between Alaknanda Ashok, Shalini Thakur Chawla and Suman Kaushik. London Olympics bronze medallist shooter Gagan Narang, one of the SOMs, is the only candidate for the post of one male vice president. Two candidates, Rajlaxmi Singh Deo and Alaknanda Ashok, have filed nominations for ice-president (woman).