Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s wife Nita Ambani has been nominated for membership in the International Olympic Committee and will become the first Indian woman to be on the apex sporting body if she gets elected at the IOC Session scheduled from August 2 to 4. The Switzerland-based IOC is the supreme authority of the Olympic Movement and is responsible for holding of the summer and winter Olympics and Paralympics.
“Nita Ambani, Founder and Chairperson of Reliance Foundation has been nominated as a candidate to be a new member, pending election, of the IOC,” a statement said. The election will be held at the 129th IOC Session in Rio de Janeiro on August 2-4.
The independent selection process follows a new procedure for recruitment of IOC members based on the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations. Once elected, she will continue to be a member until the age of 70.
Ambani is the first Indian woman to be nominated to the IOC. Sir Dorabji Tata was the first Indian representative in the IOC while Raja Randhir Singh is currently a honorary member of the IOC and he was a member from 2000-2014.
Technically, as per the Olympic Charter and the IOC rules, the category under which Ambani is being considered is the one for volunteers who represent the IOC and Olympic Movement in their country. They are not delegates of their country within the IOC.
The retirement age for such nominees is until they reach 70 years.
Since December 1999, the number of members has been limited to 115, which includes a maximum of 70 individual members, 15 active athletes, 15 representatives of the International Federations, and 15 representatives of the NOCs. The term of office of members is 70 years for those whose election took place after 1999.
The 70 IOC members (excluding those from International Federations, athletes and representations of National Olympic Committee) are volunteers who represent the IOC and Olympic Movement in their country.
New members are elected by the IOC Session. Each candidature file is analysed by the IOC Nominations Commission, then forwarded to the Executive Board. The latter submits its proposals to the Session, which elects new members by secret ballot.
Ambani said, “I believe in the power of sport to shape our youth, to bring together communities and bridge gaps between cultures and generations. I am grateful to IOC for this opportunity, it’s a recognition of India and Indian women. I am looking forward to the opportunity to contribute in meeting the goals of IOC.”
Her nomination is acknowledgement of her work at the grassroots and in promoting education and sports.