India’s star shuttler Saina Nehwal has been appointed as a member of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Athletes’ Commission. It is a rare honour for an Indian sportsperson to be included in the elite commission. The champion shuttler is currently recovering from knee injury and is hoping to stage a comeback very soon.
Saina received a letter to the effect from the IOC president Thomas Bach. “Following your candidature for the elections of the IOC Athletes’ Commission during the Olympic Games Rio 2016, it is with great pleasure to appoint you in consultation with the Chair, as Member of the Athletes’ Commission,” the letter said.
The Athletes’ Commission is chaired by Angela Ruggiero and it comprises nine vice-presidents and 10 other members. The next meeting of the Commission is scheduled for November 6.
Saina’s appointment to the prestigious panel has come just when she is set to resume practice after recovering from a knee injury.
Saina, who sustained an intra-articular injury (inside the joint) to her right knee, had said in an interview to a news agency last month that she hoped to play in tournaments in November if everything went well. Her knee injury affected her showing at Rio Olympics Games 2016, as she crashed out early.
Her rehab programme, following a surgery to the right knee at a Mumbai hospital, has been going on smoothly, she said.
“I am fine; the rehab plan is working nicely under the guidance of Heath Matthews, Head Sports Medicine, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital Mumbai. I am highly thankful to them and Chandan Poddar, physio, for the help,” she reportedly said.
Saina’s father Harvir Singh expressed happiness over her appointment to the Olympic panel.
“I have become very emotional. It is a matter of great privilege for us that they recognised her and to be a part of the IOC. They thought that she could be of some use. She lost (a medal in the Olympics) because of the injury. We are proud of her,” Harvir Singh said.