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Widow to carry the legacy forward

Sons succeeding fathers as sports administrators in India isn’t all that rare, but a wife taking over from her husband certainly is.

other Updated: Mar 13, 2012 23:38 IST
HT Correspondent

Sons succeeding fathers as sports administrators in India isn’t all that rare, but a wife taking over from her husband certainly is.

It happened in basketball where on Tuesday, to the surprise of many, Roopam Sharma was ‘invited’ by the steering committee of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) to be the chief executive officer of the federation, a post held by her husband Harish Sharma.

Sharma died on February 10 this year following a brief illness. He was a former international and was CEO for one year and the secretary-general of the BFI for 11 years.

Roopam was quoted as saying that her association with basketball as an organiser and the inputs shared by her husband would help her tackle the challenge. She would be the first to take charge, though from April 1, Rajlakshmi Singh Deo could give her company. The difference though is that Rajlakshmi was elected last month to succeed husband CP Singh Deo as president of the Rowing Federation of India.

The BFI steering committee met after its annual general meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday and drafted in Roopam, a former basketball player and deputy general manager with Air India, as its new CEO.

“BFI president RS Gill mooted the idea and it got full support from other members of the steering committee,” Maharashtra State Basketball Association secretary M Venkatesh told HT.

The federation later issued a release to inform that the BFI bigwigs approached Roopam following the Steering Committee’s decision to seek her consent and she accepted it.

The BFI release said Roopam has “loads of experience both as a marketing person and as an organiser apart from having been associated with FIBA Asia (governing body for the Continent) and FIBA World to execute the day-to-day affairs of BFI.”

Not everyone in the BFI is buying this though and over the next few months, it will be clear whether the Sharma family stays in control of the BFI or not.