Mary Kom, PV Sindhu, Mirabai Chanu among 10 sport stars elected in IOA Athletes' Commission
India's first individual Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra and former India hockey team captain Sardar Singh will complete the 12-member athletes commission in their capacity as members of the corresponding bodies of the International Olympic Committee and Olympic Council of Asia respectively.
Boxer M C Mary Kom, a five-time world champion, double Olympic medalist PV Sindhu, and multiple-time winter Olympian Shiva Keshavan were among the 10 illustrious athletes who were unanimously elected as members of the IOA Athletes Commission on Monday in New Delhi.
Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, who won silver at the Tokyo Olympics, shooter Gagan Narang, veteran table tennis player Achanta Sharath Kamal, legendary hockey player Rani Rampal, fencer Bhavani Devi, rower Bajrang Lal, and former shot putter OP Karhana are the other seven members of the top body.
All the 10 members, out of which five are female, are Olympians. Keshavan is the only Winter Olympian.
Umesh Sinha, who is also the returning officer for the future IOA elections, ruled that all ten candidates who filed nominations for the same number of seats on the Athletes Commission were elected without any opposition.
Abhinav Bindra, the first individual Olympic gold medalist from India in shooting, and Sardar Singh, a former captain of the Indian hockey team, will round out the 12-person athletes' commission in their respective capacities as members of the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Council of Asia.
They will both be able to cast ballots. Sardar was appointed to the OCA Athletes Committee in 2019 for a four-year term, whereas Bindra was appointed to the IOC Athletes Commission in 2018 for an eight-year term.
The athletes' commission must have equal representation of male and female members under the Indian Olympic Association's newly adopted constitution, which was approved on November 10.
As the six-time representative of India at the Winter Olympics, Keshavan claimed that this was the first official athletes' commission in IOA history.
"Yes, this is a historic moment for the athletes of the country. We now have a proper and full fledged athletes commission for the first time in IOA history," Keshavan told PTI.
The IOA Executive Council, which will be elected on December 10 per the Supreme Court's orders, will have two members of the athlete commission, one male and one female.
"We will have our first meeting on Tuesday, we will get to know who will be the president and vice president (one of the two will be a female) tomorrow."
Keshavan stated that the electoral college, which would elect the IOA Athletes Commission members, would consist of roughly 70 people.
"The NSFs which have athletes commissions nominates two voters -- one male and a female -- and in case of NSFs which do not have athletes commissions, their executive council nominates one male and a female to vote in the IOA Athletes Commission elections," Keshavan said.
Eight athletes of outstanding merit (SOM), who will be voting members of the IOA General Assembly under the new constitution, will also be chosen by the 10-member Athletes Commission. The IOA Executive Council will also include two SOMs, a male and a female.
According to the IOA constitution written by Justice (retd) L Nageswara Rao, six of the commission's ten members—three men and three women—must be Olympians who have competed in at least one of the previous three Games.
There should be three athletes from each gender, three male and three female, with at least one representing an individual sport and one representing a team sport.
Of these six athletes, at least one should have competed in the last three Asian Winter Games or the Winter Olympics.
Two male and two female members should have each taken home at least one medal from one of the previous three Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, National Games, or Senior National Championship competitions.
(With inputs from PTI)