Nita Ambani, founder chairperson of Reliance Foundation and owner of the Mumbai Indians cricket team franchise, has been elected as an individual member of International Olympic Committee, becoming the first Indian woman to join the prestigious body which governs Olympic sports in the world.
After being nominated in June by the IOC Executive Board, Nita was on Thursday elected by IOC members at the 129th Session of the world body, just a day before the opening ceremony of the 31st Olympics Games.
52-year-old Nita is the only current active individual member of the IOC from India and she will serve at the high-profile world body until she attains the age of 70.
Former Indian Olympic Association Secretary General, Randhir Singh, who served as IOC member from India from 2001-2014, is currently an honorary member of the world body.
The independent selection process follows a new procedure for the recruitment of IOC members based on the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations. These nomination were done wholly on merit and then elected by existing IOC members.
Ambani joined world governing bob and skeleton federation chief Ivo Ferriani of Italy, South African film producer Anant Singh and Austria Olympic committee chief Karl Stoss.
Canadian Olympic committee president Tricia Smith, Finland’s Sari Essayah, Colombia’s former ambassador to the US Luis Moreno and Secretary General of the Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee Auvita Rapilla were also voted in.
The eight new members bring the total number of IOC members to 98.
Moreno, Singh and Ambani were earmarked for membership by the IOC Members Election Commission which is chaired by Britain’s Princess Anne as candidates outside the Olympic and sport community who could usher in a fresh approach and new skills to the organisation.
“I am truly humbled and overwhelmed to be elected by the IOC. This is a recognition of the growing importance of India in the world stage and a recognition for Indian women,” Nita said in a release.
“I have always believed in the power of sport to shape our youth. I believe that sports brings together communities, cultures, and generations has the power to unify and unite people. I look forward to spreading the spirit of Olympics and sports across our nation,” she added.