Batra elected IOA chief

New Delhi: Narinder Batra defeated his rival Anil Khanna by an overwhelming majority to be elected the president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) here on Thursday.

Batra, who also heads the International Hockey Federation (FIH), garnered 142 votes to be elected IOA chief for a four-year term.

Khanna got just 13 votes. He had announced his withdrawal from the polls on December 7 in order to preserve the unity of the “IOA family”. But he still had to participate in the elections as the deadline for the withdrawal of nomination was December 3.

R.K. Anand, meanwhile, became senior vice-president by defeating J.S. Gehlot. Anand got 96 votes while Gehlot managed 35.

Rajeev Mehta held on to the post of secretary general and was re-elected for a second term. He got a walkover as there was no other candidate for the post.

Anandeshwar Pandey got 11 votes to bag the post of treasurer by defeating his rival Rakesh Gupta who managed seven votes.

S.M. Bali, Rakesh Gupta, Namdev Shirgaonkar, Onkar Singh, D.V. Sitaram Rao and Vikram Sisodia took over as joint secretaries.

Adhip Das, Ajit Banerjee, Balbir Singh Kushwah, Digvijay Singh, Dushyant Chautala, Gurudutta Bhakta, Hemochandra Singh, V.M. Prasood, Rupak Debroy and Abhijt Sarkar became members of the executive council.

The election results will, however, be subject to a final decision by the Delhi High Court. Lawyer Rahul Mehra had filed a petition, demanding that the elections be cancelled. The high court however, refused to entertain his plea.

Batra asserted that he will try to bring big ticket international events to India.

“Once I settle down, the IOA will put a proposal before the government to host the 2032 Olympics, 2030 Asian Games and 2026 Commonwealth Games. We should think big but hosting these Games depends on government as they will sanction the funds,” he told the media on Thursday.

Batra also reiterated that the IOA will continue to not hold bilateral events with Pakistan.

“As far as multilateral events organised by the international federations are concerned, we have to play Pakistan. But we will not play them in bilateral events unless political relations improve,” he asserted.

“Moreover their behaviour at the border will have to improve. Everybody in India is an Indian first.”