By Saba Nayakan
Ahmedabad: Flying Sikh Milkha Singh and track star P. T. Usha were chosen for the prestigious SJFI Medal for 2022 at the Sports Journalists’ Federation of India’s Annual General Meeting at the Sports Club of Gujarat here on Sunday.
The previous three winners were tennis ace Vijay Amritraj, badminton maestro Prakash Padukone and cricket legend Sunil Gavaskar.
Milkha Singh, who won four gold medals at the 1958 Asian Games in Tokyo (200m and 400m) and the 1962 Asian Games in Jakarta (400m and 4 x 400m relay) was chosen in the posthumous award category. Milkha Singh, who passed away a few years back, was the first Indian in track and field to finish fourth in the Olympic men’s 400m run at Rome in 1960.
Usha is the current President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and a Member of Parliament in Rajya Sabha, which is also known as Council of States or House of Elders. She has won 11 medals in the Asian Games including four gold at the 1986 Asian Games in Seoul, South Korea (200m, 400m, 400m hurdles and 4 x 400m relay).
After retiring from the sport as an athlete, PT Usha founded the Usha School of Athletics in her state Kerala. The school has produced a number of top-notch women athletes.
Former continental track record holder in her pet events, PT Usha’s highpoint came in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics where she missed the bronze medal by 1/100th of a second in the newly introduced 400m hurdles for women. The event was won by Nawal El Moutawakel of Morocco who is closely associated with AIPS.
Tushar elected President
The SJFI, at the AGM, elected Tushar Trivedi of Gujarat as its president. Mumbai’s Prashant Keni remained the Hony. Secretary and Partha Chakraborty of Assam was elected as the Hony. Treasurer for a two-year term (2023-2025).
All the positions were decided unanimously. Only Vice-Presidents’ posts saw election.
The New Committee:
President: Tushar Trivedi (Gujarat);
Vice-Presidents: Saraju Chakraborty (Tripura), Vikas Pandey (Indore), Ms. Manuja Veerappa (Bengaluru), Paritosh Pramanik (Nagpur);
Hony. Secretary: Prashant Keni (Mumbai);
Hony. Jt. Secretary: Ramesh Varikuppala (Telangana);
Hony. Treasurer: Partha Chakraborty (Assam);
Executive Committee: Suresh Kumar Swain (Odisha), Ripple Christy (Gujarat), K. Keerthivasan (Tamil Nadu), Suprabhat Debnath (Tripura), Bidyut Kalita (Assam), Nilesh Deshpande (Nagpur), Sabi Hussain Naqvi (Delhi).
The first Executive Committee meeting co-opted Shailesh Nagwekar of Mumbai as a member of the Executive Committee and kept one position open.
The Executive Committee also retained former Presidents, S. Sabanayakan, as the Chairman of the International Affairs Committee and G. Viswanath, as Chairman of the Programmes and Future initiative Committee. The meeting also formed a new committee, Young Sports Reporters’ Programme Committee and made, Subodh Malla Barua, as its Chairman.