Tribune News Service
New Delhi, October 30
As is the norm regarding elections in national sports federations, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) called to elect the new officebearers for 2020-24 has run into controversy. Incumbent AFI president Adille Sumariwalla is expected to be re-elected unopposed, and Anju Bobby George, India’s only World Championships medallist in track & field, is expected to be elected as vice-president at the AGM in Gurugram tomorrow.
Anju can’t enter KAA on the sly: Nachappa
Former Olympian Ashwini Nachappa, who heads the Bangalore Urban District Association, called Anju’s nomination a farce. “I bet she has never set foot in Chikkaballapur (the district from where Anju has joined KAA) ever in her life,” Nachappa said. “…I am disappointed as an athlete as this is a deliberate attempt to enter from the back door.”
But the state and district associations from Maharashtra and Karnataka — Sumariwalla has been nominated from Maharashtra while Anju’s nomination has come from Karnataka — have objected to their nominations. They have sent their objections to the Returning Officer, Vijayalakshmy K. Gupta, calling the process a “farce”. The Pune and Sangli district associations have even threatened to go to court against Sumariwalla’s nomination. They claim his nomination is illegal as per the Maharashtra State Athletic Association constitution, which bars administrators from contesting elections after serving two terms.
“If the election goes through we have every intention of moving the court as Adille’s nomination from Maharashtra state is illegal,” Umesh Jadhav, who heads the Pune District Amateur Athletics Association, told The Tribune. “Adille has already served two terms,” Jadhav added.
Similarly, the district bodies in Karnataka were surprised by Anju being nominated for vice-president from that state. “Though an athlete who has brought many laurels to her state Kerala … been until recently Chairman of Kerala Sports Council, KAA nominating her… it is viewed very seriously by us as the affiliated members (sic),” R Natarajan, honorary secretary of Davengere District Athletics Association, wrote to AFI.
Sumariwalla, meanwhile, rejected all objections, saying those who are raking up a controversy have no case as both Pune and Sangli are not part of the Electoral College in Maharashtra.