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Punjab sports minister likely to head Chandigarh Olympic body

Punjab sports minister and former international shooter Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi is likely to head the Chandigarh Olympic Association (COA)
By Saurabh Duggal, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 12:48 AM IST

Punjab sports minister and former international shooter Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi is likely to head the Chandigarh Olympic Association (COA).

The Olympic body polls are scheduled for January 27.

International shooter Sodhi, who remained president of the COA for three terms of four years each between 2004 to 2016, is considered an obvious choice for the post of president. During the 2016 elections, he had decided not to contest.

“If everyone (referring to the affiliated sports associations) wants me to be the president of COA, I have no issues. But it all depends on the office bearers of the sports associations,” said Sodhi, who is the recipient of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh award, Punjab’s highest sports award.

“I have also worked as the president of the COA, so if given the opportunity again, I will deliver my best. Being a former sportsperson, sports has always been my top priority,” he added.

Maha Singh, who is currently the secretary of the COA, will be re-contesting for another term. “The elections are a numbers game. Most of the sports associations wanted me to re-contest. So I have decided to contest again for the post of honorary secretary,” he said. “Rana Sodhi is the presidential candidate from our group and most likely his candidature will be a unanimous choice for the top post.”

The COA has a voting strength of 68: there are two votes each for the 34 affiliated state sports associations. The display of the electoral college is on January 16; filling of nomination papers is on January 18; and withdrawal is between January 22-24.

A faction led by the president of the Chandigarh Basketball Federation, Chander Mukhi, and Chandigarh Amateur Judo Association’s president Raj Pal Chauhan had trained guns on Maha Singh over affiliations granted to several sports associations in the last couple of months and also alleged that if he (Singh) reruns for the post of secretary, it would be a violation of the National Sports Code.

“I was made treasurer of the COA in the middle of the 2012-2016 term and was secretary in 2016-2020. As per the Code, I am eligible to contest again. Moreover, the state Olympic body doesn’t fall under the preview of that Code,” said he, who is also the vice-president of the Chandigarh Archery Association.

On affiliation to hockey bodies, he added, “As there is a case going on in the court between two Chandigarh’s hockey bodies, so till the time there is no verdict from the court, we (COA) have not given affiliation to any.”

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