Anju Bobby George elected as AFI’s first female vice-president

Legendary Indian long-jumper Anju Bobby George was elected unopposed and believes her experiences will help her connect with athletes.

By Rahul Venkat

India’s only medallist in the World Athletics Championships and Olympian Anju Bobby George was elected unopposed as the Athletics Federation of India’s (AFI) first woman senior vice-president on Saturday. She will serve till 2024.

Anju won the long-jump bronze at the 2003 World Athletics Championships in Paris before finishing fifth in the long jump at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens with a personal-best jump of 6.83m.

Post-retirement, Anju Bobby George has been involved in sports administration, having served in the Kerala State Sports Council, the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) and the Khelo India initiative.

“I have taken up other roles before this. Having served the country as an athlete and winning laurels for the country at the highest level, I believe I can connect well with all athletes and coaches to take India forward,” Anju Bobby George told PTI.

Her status as an Indian sport legend makes Anju Bobby George a fitting candidate for the senior vice-presidency of the AFI, the country’s athletics-governing body, from where she can be closely involved with developmental work.

Apart from Anju, three other women were also elected to the AFI’s Executive Council for a period of four years.

Former long-distance runner Suman Rawat Mehta was elected vice president, former middle-distance runner C Latha the joint secretary and A Hyma an executive council member of the AFI.

Incumbent AFI president and Olympian Adille Sumariwalla’s election for a third term was also ratified in the AFI’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Saturday.

For Sumariwalla, who was first elected AFI president in 2012, this will be the final term as the National Sports Code only allows three successive terms as head of a national sports federation.

The AGM also elected Ravinder Chaudhary and Madhukant Pathak as the secretary and treasurer of the AFI, respectively.