New Delhi: Tainted Indian sports administrator Suresh Kalmadi has been made Life President of the Asian Athletics Association for his "work in the development of athletics in the continent" during his 13-year tenure as the head of organisation from 2000. Kalmadi, who was jailed and later released on bail in connection with the 2010 Commonwealth Games scam, was nominated for the honorary post at the 80th Council Meeting of the AAA in Jakarta on March 12.
"The Council resolved to include Mr Suresh Kalmadi, former president of AAA as a Hon Life President of AAA for his work in the development of athletics in Asia during his tenure," the AAA said in a statement. Kalmdai's reign as the head of AAA ended when he lost the presidential election to current chief Dahlan Al-Hamad of
Qatar in a close contest in July 2013 in Pune just before the start of Asian Athletics Championships in his home town.
Kalmadi, a former President of Indian Olympic Association, also lost the membership of the highly influential Council of the IAAF, the world governing body of the sport, after losing the election to Al-Hamad. The influential Al-Hamad is all set to be re-elected as AAA chief in June for another term and he is also currently one of the vice-presidents of the IAAF.
Al-Hamad, who chaired the AAA Council Meeting in Jakarta, also announced the staging of a two-week long training camp for the selected elite athletes of member federations with limited resources to prepare for the Asian Athletics Championships to be held in Wuhan in China in June. "Hubei Olympic Sports Centre in Wuhan (China) will host over 50 athletes and coaches from Asia. Host China will provide coaching support for the athletes and coaches.
Training Camp will take place from May 18-31," the AAA said. The Council Meeting also confirmed the dates and venues of Asian Grand Prix series to be held in Thailand. "Thailand will host all three legs of Asian Grand Prix series 2015 starting with June 22 at Pathum Thani followed by Ayuthaya on June 25 and Bangkok will host final leg on June 29," the statement said.
Al-Hamad also stressed on the inclusive cooperation with the athletics body of Oceania especially in the field of coaching programmes to develop grassroots athletics in Asia. The IAAF presidential candidates Sergey Bubka of Ukarine and Sebastian Coe of Great Britain also presented their vision of World of Athletics to the council members. Election of IAAF president will take place in Beijing during IAAF World Championship in Athletics in August.