Track and field legend PT Usha was elected as the first woman president of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on Saturday, ushering in a new era in the country’s sports administration.
The 58-year-old sportsperson, a multiple Asian Games gold medallist and fourth place finisher in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics 400m hurdles final, was declared unopposed for the top post in the polls. She emerged as the lone candidate for the top post, as nobody was willing to fight against her. The athlete was nominated to the Rajya Sabha by Bharatiya Janata Party in July.
With the election, PT Usha has become the first Olympian and first international medallist to head the IOA in its 95-year-old history. This is another feather in her cap after exemplary performance in Indian and Asian athletics for two decades before retiring in 2000. She is the first sportsperson to have represented the country and also become IOA chief since Maharaja Yadavindra Singh, who headed IOA from 1938 to 1960. At least five of the 14 executive council members (including International Olympic Committee member in India, Nita Ambani), are former sports persons, which is a record in the IOA history.