Mangaluru, Sep 20, 2018: N. Muthappa Rai took over as president of the Karnataka Athletics Association amid much fanfare at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Wednesday.
Rai, who now heads the social welfare organisation Jaya Karnataka but has a chequered past, arrived at the offices of the KAA in a large convoy, surrounded by a phalanx of bodyguards.
He was showered with rose petals as he alighted from his black SUV, while a few hundred followers jostled for space.
“I will work for the betterment of athletics in Karnataka. I want to help promote rural talent,” he declared, at a slightly chaotic press conference.
Rai, who has been president of the Ramanagara District Athletics Association for two years now, was elected unopposed, as were all the other office-bearers.
Rai promised to fight for the long-standing demand of athletes that the Sree Kanteerava outdoor stadium, which is also home to Bengaluru FC, be used for track-and-field alone.
The Athletics Federation of India’s observer, P.K. Srivastava, stated that the KAA had not broken any norms in conducting its polls.
“Everything has been done as per the KAA’s by-laws. Due process has been followed. This type of fanfare is not a problem for us. We understand that he (Rai) is a man of stature. In fact, we welcome his entry as he can bring some money into the sport,” he said.
Srivastava, the AFI treasurer, said the national federation had certain demands of the KAA.
“They have to conduct state and district-level championships. He (Rai) has to motivate the district associations to organise meets, something they have not been doing regularly,” he said.
The newly-elected body published a list of its aims, among which are laying a new synthetic track at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, hosting next year’s Asian Athletics Championships, maintaining a digital database of athletes, and making annual district meets mandatory.
The office-bearers: N. Muthappa Rai (president), H.T. Mahadeva (senior vice-president), Sadanand Naik, S.S. Hiremath, S. Somashekar, B.L. Bharathi (vice-presidents), A. Rajavelu (secretary), Ajay Kumar (sr. joint secretary), A.N. Prabhakar, R.B. Kallesh, Manchanabale Srinivas (joint secretaries), Sunil Kumar Shetty (treasurer) .
Courtesy: The Hindu