PT Usha will contest for the post of IOA President

High-flying PT Usha on Saturday surprised everyone by announcing that she would file her nomination for the election of the President of the Indian Olympic Association. The elections will be held on December 10. The 58-year-old Usha, who won multiple gold medals in the 400m hurdles at the Asian Games and finished fourth at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, made the announcement in a tweet. “With the support of my fellow sportspersons and national federations, I am extremely proud to have accepted and filed my nomination for the post of IOA President,” he wrote.

Sunday is the last date for filing nominations. Umesh Sinha, returning officer for the IOA elections, said no nominations have been filed since the process began on Friday. Usha is also one of the eight veteran sportspersons elected to the IOA’s Athletes’ Commission. Usha, popularly known as ‘Payoli Express’, is being considered as the candidate of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which nominated her as a Rajya Sabha member in July.

Usha, who won 11 medals, including four gold, at the Asian Games between 1982 and 1994, won gold in 200m, 400m, 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay and silver in 100m at the 1986 Seoul Asian Games. In Delhi Asian Games 1982, he won medals in 100m and 200m. Apart from this, he has won 23 medals including 14 gold in the Asian Championship. She lost the bronze medal in the 400 meters hurdles final at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics to Romania’s Cristina Cojocaru by one-hundredth of a second.

If Usha wins the election, she will be the first sportsperson to become IOA president after Maharaja Yadvindra Singh who has represented the country. Yadvinder Singh played a Test match in 1934 and was the IOA President from 1938 to 1960. Usha’s announcement has taken some IOA officials by surprise. No one wants to give statement but saying that there is still one day’s time to decide further course of action. In the recent All India Football Federation election, West Bengal BJP leader and former goalkeeper Kalyan Choubey emerged as an unexpected candidate and won the election. The IOA elections are being conducted under the supervision of Supreme Court-appointed judge (retd) N Nageswara Rao.

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