In a surprise development, the legendary P T Usha on Saturday announced that she will contest for the post of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president when the sports body holds its election on December 10. The 58-year-old Usha, a multiple Asian Games gold medallist and fourth-place finisher in the 1984 Olympics 400m hurdles final, made the announcement through a tweet. “With the warm support of my Fellow Athletes and National Federations I am humbled and honoured to accept and file for the Nomination of the President Of IOA!,” Usha tweeted.
The deadline to file nomination papers for the IOA elections ends on Sunday. According to IOA elections returning officer Umesh Sinha, no nomination has been filed for any post so far since the process began on Friday.
Usha, a top sprinter in her heyday, has also been elected as one of the eight Sportspersons of Outstanding Merit (SOM) by the Athletes Commission of the IOA, making her an electoral college member.
Usha, fondly known as ‘Payyoli Express’, is being seen as a candidate of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party which had nominated her as a Rajya Sabha member in July.
She is one of the most decorated Indian athletes, having won 11 medals, including four gold in the Asian Games from 1982 and 1994.
She won all four gold in the 1986 Seoul Asan Games — 200m, 400m, 400m hurdles, and 4x400m relay — and also bagged a silver in the 100m.
Usha also won 100m and 200m medals in the 1982 New Delhi Asian Games. She also won a phenomenal 23 medals, including 14 gold, in the Asian Championships from 1983 to 1998, collectively in 100m, 200m, 400m hurdles, 4x100m relay, and 4x400m relay.
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