Unfazed at being ousted from the Asian Athletics Association, scam-tainted Suresh Kalmadi said losing the presidential re-election bid to Qatar's Dahlan Jumaan Al-Hamad has actually given him a chance to work at the "grassroots" level.
"I have no issues today and I congratulate Mr Al-Hamad for being elected as president. I am rather relieved that I will be able to work at the grassroots level in athletics," Kalmadi said after losing the vote during the ongoing AAA Congress in Pune.
He was presented a plaque by IAAF president Lamine Diack at the Congress.
The loss ended the veteran administrator's 13-year reign at the helm.
Qatar Athletics Federation president Al Hamad, who is also the incumbent senior vice-president of the AAA as well as IAAF, will hold office for just two years instead of four.
An AAA source said the term of its president was curtailed so that it runs concurrently with that of the IAAF chief and it will revert to four years from 2015.
Kalmadi, who was jailed and later released on bail for his alleged role in the Commonwealth Games scam, lost 18-20 in the presidential election, held on the second and final day of the AAA Congress at a five-star hotel.
All the 45 member countries of the AAA voted through secret ballot in the presence of international parent body IAAF chief Lamine Diack. There were seven invalid votes. Each country has one vote in the election.
Kalmadi, a former Indian Olympic Association president, will, however, continue to be an IAAF Council member till 2015 when the world body holds its elections.
Monday’s defeat also marked the end of the 69-year-old Congress MP's career as a sports administrator as he has already quit from any such post in the country last year after he was charge-sheeted and jailed for his alleged role in the CWG scandal.
The electoral reverse has now led to speculation on whether he would now announce retirement from sports administration since he no longer has any posts.
He will though automatically become a life president of the AAA, an honorary post given to all past presidents, and can attend the Congress of the continental body without any voting rights.
The Athletics Federation of India was represented by its president Adille Sumariwala and secretary C K Valson. The other members of the AAA Council -- a senior vice-president, five vice-presidents and eight executive members -- will also be elected.
Image: Suresh Kalmadi
Photograph: Ian Walton/Getty Images