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Paralympics medalist Devendra Jhajharia set to be PCI president

Double Paralympics gold medalist javelin thrower Devendra Jhajharia is set to be elected as PCI president unopposed.

Devendra Jhajharia Padma Bhushan

Devendra Jhajharia receives Padma Bhushan


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 1 March 2024 5:20 AM GMT

Two-time Paralympics gold medallist Devendra Jhajharia is set to be elected unopposed as the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI) president in the delayed March 9 elections.

The 42-year-old Jhajharia will succeed another celebrated para-athlete, Deepa Malik.

Jhajharia, who had won a gold medal each in the 2004 Athens and 2016 Rio Paralympics in the F46 disability category, was the only candidate who filed nomination papers for the PCI chief's post till 1:30 pm Thursday, which was the cut-off time.

Returning officer Umesh Sinha will scrutinize the nomination papers on Friday and if everything is in order, Jhajharia will be elected for the top post.

The PCI elections will be held for the posts of president, two vice presidents, secretary general, treasurer, two joint secretaries, and five executive committee members.

PCI remains suspended as far as the Sports Ministry is concerned though the world body, International Paralympic Committee (IPC), recognises it.

The ministry had suspended the PCI for delaying its elections as per the National Sports Development Code of India.

Jhajharia, who hails from Rajasthan, also won a silver medal in the Tokyo Paralympics in 2021. He clinched a world championship gold in 2013 and a silver in 2015 (both F46 category) as well as a silver in the Asian Para Games in 2014.

He has many firsts to his name. He is the lone Padma Bhushan award winner (2022) among the para-athletes, besides being the only Indian double Paralympics gold medallist.

He was awarded Khel Ratna in 2017 and was earlier conferred with the Arjuna Award (2004) and Padma Shri (2012).

Outgoing president Deepa Malik was eligible to contest for the top post but she decided to fight against Jhajharia and is instead supporting him.

For the post of secretary general and two vice-presidents, the candidates will be elected unopposed as Jayawant Hammanawar, an international coach from Goa, is the only candidate for secretary general.

R Chandrashekhar and Satya Prakash Sangwan are the only candidates for the post of VPs while Sunil Pradhan was the lone candidate for the treasurer's post.

The PCI elections will be held in the middle of the Para Shooting World Cup, which offers Paris Paralympics quotas, at the Karni Singh Range from March 6-15.

On February 15, the suspended PCI announced that it will conduct its polls on March 9.

The Sports Ministry had on February 4 suspended the body for not holding elections on time. The four-year term of PCI Executive Committee ended on January 31.

The ministry had even advocated forming an ad-hoc panel to run the day-to-day affairs of the sports body but the world governing body of the game, IPC, did not allow it.

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