CHENNAI: The Indian Olympic Association election is getting exciting. The nominations closed on Sunday evening and all eyes are on the electoral college roll that is being finalized by the returning officer of the IOA election. Going by the time-line released by the RO, the list will be up on Monday by 11am. However, the buzz is not around the list but the names that have got into it.
There are indications that Badminton Association of India president Himanta Biswa Sarma is expected to attend the meeting and the Assam chief minister's entry has created quite a flutter within the IOA and among its leaders. This is one of those IOA elections where the president's candidate is not yet finalised and even murmurs of who could be is muted. There are speculations, permutation and combinations being worked out. And after the BAI president entered the fray, he is touted to be among the frontrunners for the president's post.
Athletics Federation of India president Adille Sumariwalla, India national badminton chief coach P Gopichand's names were doing the rounds but now the focus will shift on the big names who are expected to be part of the IOA electoral college. According to the constitution, the names on the electoral college comprising NSFs nominations, IOC member, two athletes' commission representatives and eight Sportspersons of Merit can contest elections and vote.
Interestingly, without any restrictive clause anyone can contest elections now. The RO and his team would be scrutinising the names and the federations who will be eligible to vote. There are indications that associate members like the Equestrian Federation of India might not get voting rights. There were 36 NSFs who sent names for athletes' commission electoral college, but this time there could be less because only those eligible can be included in the electoral college. There are at least three NSFs looked after by administrators and their eligibility will be considered.
Though some members are yet to decide on the president's candidate, there are other names in the mix too. Some feel Ajay Singh, Boxing Federation of India president, too could be an ideal candidate.It is understood most presidents of NSFs have sent their entries. Wrestling Federation of India has sent chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh and Sakshi Malik's names as male and female entries, respectively. Indian Weightlifting Federation has apparently sent its president Sahdev Yadav and Poonam Tiwari. AFI hass sent Sumariwalla and C Latha's names.