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New dawn in Indian archery: Malhotra out, Rao in

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NEW DELHI: Veteran sports administrator Vijay Kumar Malhotra’s more than fourdecade long stranglehold on archery finally came to an end with the much-awaited and controversial elections of the derecognised Archery Association of India (AAI) finally taking place here on Saturday.

BVP Rao, national convenor of the Clean Sports India (CSI) movement, was elected the new president of the AAI. He defeated his nearest rival from Tripura, Rupak Debroy, by 13 votes. Rao polled 49 votes while Debroy could garner 36 votes in a total electoral college of 85 members.

Rao was one of the seven advisors with the status of a cabinet minister in the Telengana state government before resigning from his post to contest the AAI elections.

The outcome of the elections – held under the supervision of the Court-appointed administrator and returning officer, S Y Qureshi, will be subject to the approval of the Supreme Court in the special leave petition (SLP) filed by the petitioner Maharashtra archery association against respondents Rahul Mehra & others.

While the apex court may approve the elections and give a go-ahead to the newly-elected body under Rao to start functioning as a national sports federation (NSF), it would be interesting to see whether the court accepts the provisions in archery’s new constitution in toto or considers suggesting some amendments to it, especially the clause barring public servants from contesting the elections.

It’s been learnt some of the disgruntled state archery associations, still pledging allegiance to Malhotra & Co, may approach the court to challenge certain provisions of the constitution, including the one on public servants and granting voting rights to associate members and individual archers. It’s unlikely that the sports ministry will challenge the election outcome and the constitution, but may like to apprise the court about certain provisions in the constitution which are not in consonance with its own existing national sports code of 2011.

Meanwhile, it’s been learnt that the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has refused to recognise the elections and passed a resolution in this regard during its annual General Body Meeting (GBM) held here on Saturday.

Elected office bearers: President: BVP Rao, senior vice-president: Sunil Sharma, vice-president: Rajendar Singh Tomar, secretary: Maha Singh, treasurer: D K Vidyarthi, joint secretary: Manoj Kumar and joint secretary (archer): Dhulchand Damor.

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