Sumariwalla set to become AFI chief for third time

For Sumariwalla, this will be his last term as AFI president as the National Sports Code of 2011 allows only three successive terms as head of a national sports federation.

Adille Sumariwalla is set to be elected unopposed as Athletics Federation of India president for the third term.   -  FILE PHOTO/ GETTY IMAGES

Incumbent Adille Sumariwalla is set to be elected unopposed as Athletics Federation of India president for the third term while former long jumper Anju Bobby George to be made senior vice-president in the national governing body’s polls on October 31.

Sumariwalla and Anju were the only candidates who filed their nomination papers for their respective posts till the deadline of 4pm on Wednesday. Returning officer Vijayalakshmy K. Gupta issued the list of nominated candidates after the deadline.

Sandeep Mehta and Ravinder Chaudhry have filed their nominations for the lone post of secretary. Mehta has also filed nominations for the lone post of senior joint secretary and there is a possibility he may withdraw from contesting for the secretary’s post.

The deadline for withdrawal of nominations is 6pm on Friday.

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Madhukant Pathak will be elected unopposed as treasurer while six candidates have filed nominations for the five posts of joint secretary.

Only eight candidates filed nominations for as many executive committee members. AFI Planning Committee head Lalit Bhanot is one of them. He was also an executive committee member last term.

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

For Sumariwalla, the coming term will be his last as AFI president as the National Sports Code of 2011 allows only three successive terms as head of a national sports federation. He was first elected as AFI chief in 2012.

The AFI polls will be held “in person” during its annual General Body Meeting at a plush hotel in Gurugram to elect the president, one senior vice-president, five vice-presidents, secretary, senior joint secretary, five joint secretaries, treasurer and eight executive committee members.

The AFI constitution mandates at least a woman among vice-presidents, joint secretaries and executive committee members.

The elections were due to be held in April but were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The AFI had in May 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 the elections can only be held “in person” and not online.