In a move to ensure a balance between regions, genders and sports, ace Badminton player, Saina Nehwal, is included in the IOC Athletes’ Commission as one of four athletes appointed personally by IOC President Thomas Bach.
The appointment, which was confirmed today by IOC, was made in consultation with new Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission Angela Ruggiero.
The ace Shuttler, 26-year-old who represents India in Women’s Singles will be the first Indian on this body, which has 12 elected members plus a maximum of seven others appointed by the IOC President.
Speaking about the honor, the Indian Badminton sensation said, “I feel honoured and happy to be appointed to the IOC Athletes’ Commission, especially as the first athlete from my country to have this distinction of representing athletes worldwide.”
The London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist, further thanked the IOC President and said, “I am humbled that President Bach has considered me worthy of this appointment and I wish to thank him for the confidence which he has shown in me. I will certainly give of my best in this new challenging role.”
With this appointment, congratulatory messages have been flowing for the Shuttler.
In his congratulatory message, Badminton World Federation President Poul-Erik Høyer said, “it is a significant achievement for her and for badminton”.
Adding further about the athlete, the IOC Member Høyer said, “Saina has been a leading personality in our sport for some years and we are pleased that she has been given this opportunity to serve at a higher level – among the voices speaking on behalf of athletes – and we wish her well.”
Congratulating the Ace Shuttler, India’s only Individual gold medalist at Olympics, Abhinav Bindra wrote on microblogging site twitter: “Congratulations to
@NSaina for her nomination to the @Olympics AC. Needs To ensure her NOC has a vibrant and functioning AC .”
BAI President Dr. Akhilesh Dasgupta wrote: “I congratulate
@NSaina for being appointed as a member of International Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commission.”
The news coincided with her resumption of badminton practice after knee surgery and five weeks of rehabilitation for an injury which stalled her progress during the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Speaking about the practise session, the only Indian Olympian to have been inducted in the IOC Athletes Commission had said, “It’s been a good week for me and I hope this is a positive sign as I continue my recovery. I started practising today and I look forward to playing in China and Hong Kong.”
The other three athletes appointed by IOC President Bach yesterday were: Luis Scola of Argentina; Aya Medany of Egypt and Nadin Dawani of Jordan. They were among 23 candidates in the election for the IOC Athletes’ Commission which took place during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and the four athletes with the maximum votes got elected.
The Olympic Agenda 2020 reflects placing athletes at the heart of the Olympic Movement and strengthening the support to athletes, the IOC Athletes’ Commission serves as a link between athletes and the IOC, supporting them both on and off the field of play; to ensure that the athletes’ viewpoint remains at the heart of the Olympic Movement’s decisions. The Commission has many key IOC activities, like the process for evaluating Candidate Cities seeking to host the Olympic Games; the composition of the sports programme for the Games; and the protection of clean sport.