A 10-member athlete committee was selected without a vote on Monday after the assembly witnessed a mass withdrawal of athletes. Apart from Mary, Sharath, Gagan and Sindhu, the other members elected in the athletes committee were Mirabai Chanu, Rani Rampal, Bhavani Devi, Bajrang Lal, OP Karhana and Shiva Keshavan. The remaining six members are now seeking shelter on one of the IOA’s committees, including ethics and arbitration. Members of the Athlete Commission cannot run for office during the upcoming IOA elections to elect the new executive body on December 10.
“As chairman, I have a vision to lead Indian sport in the right direction and to excel in different disciplines to achieve podium finishes in the Olympics. All my team members are experienced and it’s about sharing our ideas with each other to achieve a clean and transparent sports ecosystem’, Mary Kom told TOI.
While Mary Kom and Achanta will have the right to vote in the executive council (EC), Gagan and Sindhu will have their votes counted in the general assembly. The other members of the Athletes Committee have no voting rights. Likewise, the Athletes Commission will be responsible for choosing the eight ‘Athletes of Outstanding Merit’ (SOM), who will have voting rights in the General Assembly. Gagan, Sindhu and eight SOMs will vote in the election. The SOMs are retired athletes who were not allowed to participate in a competitive sport for at least one year prior to the application date.
“The Athletes Commission will have the mandate to elect the SOMs by November 19. But it is not within the Commission’s purview to decide which SOM will run for which office bearer(s) in the elections. SOMs can submit nominations on their own to become IOA’s office bearers,” said Keshavan, a six-time Winter Olympian and four-time Asian champion.
Speaking at the meeting on Tuesday, Abhinav Bindra (member of the IOC Athletes Commission) and Sardar Singh (OCA’s Athletes Permanent Committee Member) were co-opted into the Athletes’ Committee as the two ex officio members. Together with Mirabai, Bhavani and Sindhu, they participated in the meeting at JLN stadium from a distance.