Ramachandran to be next IOA president

    By IANS,

    New Delhi: N. Ramachandran, Rajeev Mehta and Anil Khanna will be elected unopposed as president, secretary general and treasurer respectively of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) during the Feb 9 elections.

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    The elections may finally pave the way for the IOA’s return to the Olympics fold since it was suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 2012 over its election process.

    Most of the candidates for the post of IOA office bearers will be unanimously chosen as both the Abhay Chautala and the Randhir Singh group finally worked out a consensual list of candidates, as the deadline for filing nominations ended Saturday.

    But a contest could not be avoided for the post of vice presidents where nine candidates filed nominations for eight posts.

    Randhir Singh, who is the secretary general of the recognised IOA and also an IOC member, wanted candidates from the 2008 association eligible to contest but the Chautala faction feels that those in the 2012 body must get a chance.

    Randhir Singh’s logic is that the association which was elected in 2012 was declared null and void by the IOC and hence those members stand no chance.

    But Chautala, who is the president of the suspended IOA, had his way as most of his loyalists found a place in the newly formed body. Chautala was given the mandate by the members to nominate candidates for the election.

    The only candidate close to Randhir in the new body would be his daughter Sunaina Kumari, who will be one of the six joint secretaries. Sunaina heads the bowling federation.

    Lalit Bhanot, who was the secretary general of the suspended IOA, told IANS that all the candidates will be elected unanimously.

    “All the candidates will be elected unanimously. N. Ramachandran will be the next IOA president,” Bhanot said.

    Ramachandran, who is a former secretary general of the squash federation and the brother of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) supremo N. Srinivasan, is now the president of the World Squash Federation (WSF).

    Ramachandran was elected treasurer in 2012 before the IOA was supended by the IOC.

    Mehta is an associate vice president with Hockey India (HI) and also heads the kho-kho body while Khanna is the president of the All India Tennis Association (AITA).

    Khanna in the past has also been the IOA treasurer and had resigned during the Commonwealth Games.

    Assam Olympic Association president Bhubaneswar Kalita, who was the Chef de Mission of the Indian contingent during the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and weight-lifting body’s chief Birendra Prasad Baishya, whose names were doing the rounds for the president’s post missed out.

    Baishya will be one of the nine vice presidents while Kalita found a place in the executive committee.

    Probable list of principal office bearers

    President: N. Ramachandran
    Senior vice president: Virendra Nanavati
    Vice presidents: Anurag Thakur, Akhilesh Dasgupta, Janardhan Singh Gehlot, R.K. Anand, G.S. Mandher, Tarlochan Singh, Birendra Prasad Baishya, Parminder Singh Dhinsa, Rajlaxmi Singh Deo
    Secretary General: Rajeev Mehta
    Treasurer: Anil Khanna