AFI conducts polls, all office bearers elected unopposed

Manesar: Athletics Federation of India (AFI) on Saturday conducted polls of its office bearers with all the candidates getting elected unopposed on the first day of its Annual General Body Meeting here.

The elections were held amid speculations that tainted former AFI Secretary Lalit Bhanot dictated terms to maintain his hold in the federation.

Bhanot, who was released on bail in connection with the Commonwealth Games scandal, attended the AGM as a delegate of Delhi Athletics Association.

Maharashtra Athletics Association chief Adille Sumariwalla was elected unopposed as president while C K Valson was made Secretary in the absence of any opposition candidate in the AGM.

Unlike last year, media was barred from the AGM.

With Sumariwalla taking over as AFI chief, it is for the first time that an Olympian and Arjuna awardee would be at the helm of affairs.

Valson is an ex-athlete and technical official in many international events, including Guangzhou Asian Games. He was the competition manager of athletics in the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Karnataka Athletics Association secretary Satyanarayan was elected unopposed as Treasurer.

Retired Delhi High Court Judge Justice J D Kapoor was the returning officer of the polls while S K Mendiratta, the legal advisor in the Planning Commission, and Roque Dias from the Sports Authority of India were the government observers who oversaw the elections.

According to an AFI release, Justice Kapoor appreciated the election process and informed the members that the polls have been conducted transparently and as per AFI Constitution.

"The President, Secretary and Treasurer have all been elected for the first time," the release said.

The Indian Olympic Association sent Kuldeep Vats as its observer at the election.

IOA senior vice president Tarlochan Singh said that the elections were held "democratically" under the supervision of a retired High Court judge.

"Lalit Bhanot did not contest election. There was proper filing of nominations and people were elected democratically. The election was supervised by a retired High Court judge. So there was no issue in the election process," he said.

The AGM was attended by 67 delegates from 29 state units and Boards recognised and affiliated to the AFI.

The AFI also claimed that the election process started as per the Constitution of March 29, 2012 and nominations were received and scrutinised by Justice (Retd.) Kapoor.

The AGM also reviewed its developmental policies and decided to intensify its efforts to achieve better results in the future. The state units also presented their activity reports.

The members expressed concern about overage participation and doping and it was resolved that AFI will crack down strongly on the offenders.

On the second and final day on Sunday, the AGM will discuss developments issues, with particular focus on junior level athletics, modernisation of athletics meets and the National Inter District competitions.

Olympian Gurbachan Singh Randhawa has been made Chairman of Selection Committee while Jyotirmoy Sikdar was chosen as Chairman of Women`s Commission.

The other members nominated to the Executive Committee are legendary P T Usha, Bahadur Singh, Shiny Wilson and J S Saini. Chairmen of various Committees will also be the member of Executive Council as per the AFI Constitution.

The list of ne AFI office bearers:

Adille J Sumariwalla (President); W I Davaram, K Ranga Rao, Ashutosh Sharma, H S Bhadu, Sushil Dutt Salwan, Ravinder Chaudhry, Prahlad M Sawant (Vice Presidents); Cuddi Kotta Valson (Secretary); Mumtaz Khan (Sr Jt Secretary); P K Srivastava, Tony Daniel, Madhu Kant Pathak, Adhip Das, Kamal Kumar Maitra, Pramod Kr Jadam, Sandeep Sharma (Jt Secretary); Satyanarayan (Treasurer); Suman Rawat, T K Rajendran, Liaquit Ali Khan, M Velayudham Kutty, Radhakrishnan Pillai, Pradeep Nunisa, V A Shiyad.