With adding another feather to the cap, legendary sprinter P T Usha has now been appointed as the woman president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
Moreover, for the first time, the association would be headed by the woman in 95-years-long history. Usha will also be the first Olympian and an international medallist to head the national Olympic committee, which goes to polls on December 10.
The 58-year-old multiple Asian Games gold medallist emerged as the lone candidate to file the nomination for IOA president's post. Returning officer Umesh Sinha didn't receive any nominations on first two days of filing the papers on Friday and Saturday, but 24 candidates applied for various office-bearers' posts on Sunday.
According to the sources, Usha is being chosen among the eight sportspersons of outstanding merit (SOMs) picked by the newly-elected Athletes Commission to vote during the December 10 elections for the new executive committee of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
The other seven SOMs are Yogeshwar Dutt (wrestling) M.M. Somaya (hockey), Rohit Rajpal (tennis), Akhil Kumar (boxing), Suma Shirur (shooting), Aparna Popat (badminton) and Dola Banerjee (archery).
Usha missed out on a bronze in the 400m hurdles at the 1984 Los Angeles Games by just 1/100th of a second but still became a national sports icon.
Nicknamed the “Payyoli Express" -after the town of her birth in the southern state Kerala — she topped the list of Indian athletics for close to two decades, winning 11 Asian Games medals including four golds in Seoul in 1986, before retiring in 2000.