[QODLink]
Athletics

Scandal-tainted Kalmadi loses election

Qatar's Dahlan Jumaan al-Hamad will replace disgraced Indian official as president of the Asian Athletics Association.

Last Modified: 01 Jul 2013 13:43
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Kalmadi spent ten months in jail over charges of corruption related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games [Reuters]

Disgraced Indian sports official Suresh Kalmadi on Monday lost his bid to be re-elected president of the Asian Athletics Association (AAA) for a fourth term.

Kalmadi lost to Dahlan Jumaan al-Hamad of Qatar by two votes in a hotly-contested election before the Asian track and field championships which open in the Indian city of Pune on Wednesday.

"It was a tough election," Hamad told reporters as he emerged briefly from the meeting to announce he had won.

"Members saw the work done by both parties and voted accordingly."

"People have chosen those they see will serve them well. What has happened is good for the future," he added.

An official, who asked not to be named, said Hamad had garnered 20 votes against Kalmadi's 18, while seven votes were invalid.

Corruptions charges

Kalmadi, a former Indian Olympic Association chief, is currently on bail after spending 10 months in jail over charges of corruption during his tenure as chief organiser of the chaotic 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.

"I have no issues today and I congratulate Mr Hamad for being elected as president," the 69-year-old said.

"I am in fact relieved that I will now be able to work at the grassroots level in athletics."

Hamad praised his predecessor as someone who had done much for Asian athletics.

"We can't forget Kalmadi's contribution," he said. "He has done a lot and we have to carry the flag forward."

The dysfunctional organisation of the Delhi Commonwealth Games - the most expensive in the event's history at $6 billion - led to Kalmadi becoming a public hate-figure and he was booed by the crowd during the two-week event.

The Commonwealth Games were intended to showcase India on the global stage, but infrastructure problems, delays and widespread corruption allegations instead highlighted many of the problems that blight the country.

International athletics boss Lamine Diack of Senegal was on hand to see Kalmadi, a long-serving lawmaker from Pune, be dethroned from a post he has held since 2001.

Hamad, whose elevation is another victory for ultra-wealthy Qatar, defended the large number of invalidated votes and denied any wrongdoing had taken place."Mistakes happen in voting but democracy has to prevail in the end," the Qatari said, without elaborating.

Hamad, 56, a Qatari military official, served under Kalmadi as the AAA's senior vice-president and is also one of the four vice-presidents of the International Association of Athletics Federations.

Zhaocai Du of China replaced Hamad as the senior vice-president, while Maurice Nicholas of Singapore kept his post as honorary secretary.

Qatar's reputation as a top sporting destination was boosted when the capital Doha successfully hosted the Asian Games in 2006.

Qatar will also be the first Arab state to host the football World Cup in 2022. It bought the French club Paris Saint-Germain last year for $130 million and added a further $340 million to the club's development.

Qatar's Mohamed bin Hammam headed the Asian Football Confederation from 2002 to 2011.

536

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.

Featured
Growing poverty is strengthening a trend among UK Muslims to fund charitable work closer to home.
A groundbreaking study from Johns Hopkins University shows that for big segments of the US population it is.
Critics claim a vaguely worded secrecy law gives the Japanese government sweeping powers.
A new book looks at Himalayan nation's decades of political change and difficult transition from monarchy to democracy.
The Church of Christ built a $200m megachurch while analysts say members vote in a block.
join our mailing list