Incumbent Adille Sumariwalla was on Saturday elected unopposed as Athletics Federation of India (AFI) president for his third term while legendary long jumper Anju Bobby George was made senior vice-president during its Annual General Body Meeting here. Ravinder Chaudhary, who has served AFI for a long time in various capacities, was elected unopposed as the secretary. There was no contest for other posts also, with only one candidate for all of them.
Sandeep Mehta, who had filed nominations for the secretary's post, had withdrawn from the contest. He was made the senior joint secretary. Madhukant Pathak was chosen treasurer without contest. The AGM also elected five joint secretaries and eight executive committee members. AFI Planning Committee head Lalit Bhanot is one of the executive committee members. He was also an executive committee member in the last term.
The two-day AGM is being held "in person" at a plush hotel with the main agenda being to formally elect one president, one senior vice-president, five vice-presidents, one secretary, one senior joint secretary, five joint secretaries, one treasurer and eight executive committee members. For the legendary Anju, the lone Indian to win a medal in the World Championships (a bronze in 2003), it's 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.
Anju's senior vice-presidentship is the highest post to have been occupied by a woman in AFI's history. She is also the first woman vice-president of the AFI. For Sumariwalla, the coming four-year term (2020-2024) will be his last as AFI president as the National Sports Code of 2011 allows only three continuous terms as head of a national sports federation. He was first elected as AFI chief in 2012.
The AFI constitution mandates at least one 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 in May had 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 elections can only be held "in person" and not online.