Saina Nehwal has been appointed a member of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athletes’ Commission. The London Olympic bronze-medallist shuttler, who is recovering from a knee injury and subsequent surgery, received the letter, drafted on October 14, from IOC president Thomas Bach on Monday night.
“Following your candidature for the elections of the IOC Athletes’ Commission during the Olympic Games Rio 2016, it is with great pleasure to appoint you in consultation with the Chair, as Member of the Athletes’ Commission,” the letter read.
The Athletes’ Commission is chaired by Angela Ruggiero and comprises nine vice-presidents and 10 members. The next meeting of the Commission is scheduled for November 6 in Lausanne.
“We are elated at the IOC honour,” said father Harvir Singh from Hyderabad. “We’ve also received two more emails from the IOC asking for her itinerary regarding the November meeting.”
Though Saina failed to get elected to the Commission in the elections conducted during the Rio Olympics in August, the 26-year-old was appointed member along with Luis Scola (Argentina), Aya Medany (Egypt) and Nadin Dawani (Jordan). In addition to the 12 members who are elected for an eight-year term by Olympic athletes, the IOC president can appoint up to seven members in order to ensure a balance between regions, gender and sports. The four were appointed as part of this exercise.
The athletes who were elected in Rio are Britta Heidemann from Germany (fencing) with 1603 votes, Seug-min Ryu from Korea (table tennis) with 1544, Hungarian swimmer Daniel Gyurta with 1,469 and former world pole-vaulting champion Yelena Isinbayeva with 1365 votes. A total of 5,185 athletes voted.
In an email response to HT, the IOC clarified that the nominated members will not have IOC membership, only that of the Athletes’ Commission, which serves as a link between athletes and the IOC, supporting them on and off the field.