Rio de Janeiro: Ace Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal has failed to get elected as one of the four athlete members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as she finished sixth in the race to become a member of Athletics Commission of the global governing body of sport.
Saina got 1233 votes in the election in which all the athletes participating in 2016 Rio Games were eligible to vote. She was one of the 23 top sportspersons from across the world nominated for elections for the four seats.
Saina, the 2012 London Games bronze medallist, had crashed out in the group stage of the women’s singles events in Rio Olympics. The election was held over the past 25 days in the Olympic Village located in Rio de Janeiro. After the approval by the IOC Session, the four elected athletes will become IOC members for an eight-year term of office.
Beijing Olympics gold medallist fencer Britta Heidemann of Germany was elected with 1,603 votes, followed by South Korean table tennis great Seung-Min Ryu with 1,544, former swimmer Daniel Gyurta of Hungary with 1,469 votes and Russian world record holder pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva with 1,365. A total of 5,185 athletes out of 11,245 voted.
The four new members will replace outgoing members Claudia Bokel, Dae Sung Moon, Alexander Popov and Yumilka Ruiz Luaces, who were elected to the Athletes’ Commission at the Beijing Games in 2008 for a term of eight years each.
On 21 August, Heidemann, Ryu, Gyurta and Isinbayeva will be proposed to the IOC Session for IOC membership. After approval, they will be officially introduced at the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games Rio 2016 on 21 August. Votes needed to be cast for four different athletes from four different sports. The candidates had to be presented by their National Olympic Committees, which were required to have their own athletes’ commission to select the candidate.
In order to be eligible, the candidates had to have participated either in the Olympic Games in London in 2012 or in Rio in 2016. IOC president Thomas Bach said: “The athletes are at the heart of the Olympic Games. Their voice is very important in the IOC. My congratulations goes to the newly elected members of the IOC Athletes’ Commission. We are looking forward to working closely with them to further advance the Olympic Movement."