Sumariwalla gets third term as AFI chief

Adille Sumariwalla
Adille Sumariwalla. File photo: IANS

Gurugram: Incumbent Adille Sumariwalla was on Saturday elected president of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) for his third term while legendary long jumper Anju Bobby George was made senior vice-president during the sports body's Annual General Body Meeting here.

Ravinder Chaudhary, who has served AFI for a long time in various capacities, was elected secretary.

There was no contest on any of the posts with all the candidates getting elected unopposed.

Sandeep Mehta, who had filed nominations for the secretary's post, had withdrawn from the contest. He was made the senior joint secretary.

Madhukant Pathak is the new treasurer. The AGM also elected five joint secretaries and eight executive committee members.

AFI Planning Committee head Lalit Bhanot is one of the executive committee members. He was also an executive committee member in the previous dispensation.

The two-day AGM is being held "in person" at a plush hotel.

For Anju, the lone Indian to win a medal in the World Championships (a bronze in 2003), it's her highest post in the AFI executive committee. She was in the executive committee in the last term by virtue of being a member of the Athletes' Commission.

Anju's senior vice-presidentship is the highest post to have been occupied by a woman in AFI's history. She is also the first woman vice-president of the AFI.

She said it's the right time for her to take up a leadership position in the AFI.

"I have taken up other roles before this. Having served the country as an athlete and winning laurels for the country at the highest level, I believe I can connect well with all athletes and coaches to take India forward," she said.

For Sumariwalla, the new four-year term (2020-2024) will be his last as AFI president as the National Sports Code of 2011 allows only three continuous terms as head of a national sports federation. He was first elected as AFI chief in 2012.

The AFI clarified that Sumariwalla filed nominations not only as president of Maharashtra Athletics Association but also as outgoing president, as allowed by the constitution.

The elections were due to be held in April but were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The AFI in May had deferred its elections and extended the term of its office-bearers during a Special General Meeting held online.

At that time, the federation had said that elections can only be held "in person" and not online.

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