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IOA chief PT Usha breaks silence on CEO controversy

Source: PTI
February 04, 2024 19:12 IST
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PT Usha

Indian Olympic Association (IOA) chief PT Usha on Sunday asserted that she has full confidence in the newly-appointed CEO and there was no going back on the decision to hire him for the top post.

Reports had suggested a majority of the IOA Executive Council (EC) members signing a suspension order declaring the appointment of Raghuram Iyer as CEO null and void.

The IOA had appointed Indian Premier League side Rajasthan Royals' former official Iyer as its Chief Executive Officer on January 6, a year after it was due and following repeated reminders from the International Olympic Committee.

However, within weeks of his appointment, several members of the IOA EC alleged that the legendary athlete had "exerted pressure" on them to pave the way for Iyer's appointment as CEO, a charge that Usha termed "shameful".

About 12 out of 15 EC members had then said that Iyer's recruitment wasn't ratified by the apex body.

Asked whether she seemed riddled with problems ever since she took charge as IOA president, Usha said, "Every time. It has to be solved. When you do the wrong thing, then you have to be scared. When you are doing right and proper then why worry on it."

Asked to comment on the latest development on the CEO episode, Usha, attending a function organised by the Delhi Sports Journalists Association (DSJA) and Sports Journalists Federation of India (SJFI) in New Delhi, said: "CEO is working. I've already appointed the CEO in a very proper way and he is working there."


On whether he would continue to perform his normal duties despite several EC members reportedly wanting his removal, she said, "100 per cent (he will continue). Why not? He is a very good CEO, and because the IOC needs good ones (officials) only."

We always wanted IOA to have a big one (a renowned person on the CEO's post)...and (it can help) sports in a very big way. I'm thinking that way only," said Usha after the function where she was honoured with a medallion, a citation and a memento by the sports journalists.

"I'm believing on him (CEO) and I have got confidence in whatever he is doing now," she added.

Also present on the occasion were legendary pistol shooter Jaspal Rana and BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla, who were the guest of honour and presented the medallion and citation to Usha for her lifetime achievements.

Usha is the fifth recipient of the SJFI and DSJA 'Lifetime Achievement' award after tennis legend Vijay Amritraj, former badminton icon Prakash Padukone, legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar and former sprinter Milkha Singh.

Usha won 103 international medals for the country. She also won four gold medals and seven silver at the Asian Games, and competed across three editions of the Olympics.

"I am grateful that my career achievements are being remembered till today. During my time, we did not have all the facilities that are available with athletes in today's age -- overseas training, nutrition, sports psychologist, and sports science among others."

"Now that I am working at IOA, our effort is to focus on the Paris Olympics," Usha added. 

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