– First India To Achieve This Prominence! –
Keeping the flag of the country and the community flying ever high, in a major development, Olympian and premiere sports personality – Dr. Adille Sumariwalla – the President of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), was elected as Vice President of the prestigious World Athletics, at the 54th World Athletics Congress, which was held in Budapest, on 17th August, 2023. Mumbai-based Adille Sumariwalla thus becomes the first Indian to become a member of the powerful World Athletics Executive Board – the highest decision-making body of the world body, alongside four other chosen VPs. This is the highest post occupied by an Indian in the global track and field governing body, at the World Athletic Congress.
The Executive Board consists of the president, four vice presidents, three appointed members and a chief executive officer (non-vote based). Also an entrepreneur, owning media businesses in India, 65-year-old Dr. Sumariwalla secured the third highest number of votes during the WA elections, which were held two days ahead of the World Championships. His three other Co-VPs are Ximena Restrepo (re-elected), Raul Chapado and Jackson Tuwei. His tenure as Vice President will comprise a four-year term. Earlier, in 2015, Dr. Sumariwalla became the first Indian to be elected to the World Athletics Council. He was re-elected in 2019.
Born on 1st January, 1958, the journey of Dr. Adille Sumariwalla’s sense of discipline, diligence and his innumerable achievements started way back when he represented India at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, as an athlete and runner. One of his most memorable achievements, among his recent accomplihsments, would be India winning 7 Olympic medals under his excellent leadership at the Tokyo Olympics (2021), in his capacity as President of the Indian Olympic Association and Executive Board Member/ Jury Member for the Track and Field Sport.
His other recent honours include being felicitated by the Sports Journalists’ Association of Mumbai (SJAM), with the Lifetime Achievement Award (October, 2022) and representing India at ‘Sport For All’ at the Vatican (November, 2022) – an international summit, where he responded to a call by Pope Francis, where sports enthusiasts and representatives of major sports and intergovernmental institutions and organizations met to discuss the social responsibility of sports and how participating in sports could promote human, educational and spiritual growth.
In an earlier interview with Parsi Times, Dr. Adille Sumarilwalla shared insightful nuggets about sports and sportsmanship, saying, “Sports has been my passion and I have followed my passion completely. The journey has been great! There were ups and downs, I’ve faced many disappointments, but I’ve survived them all. Immaterial of the field we are in, we should never give up. Keep pushing yourself, think smart, work hard, use all the resources available to overcome difficulties and most importantly, stay consistent. What one has achieved in the past is history, you should always look forward to achieving new things and bettering yourself! One might not win a medal, but the important thing is to excel in whatever you do. It’s all about one’s talent and capacity – not just about winning or losing. It’s more about the journey than the destination. The journey defines your end result. The final consequence is just a byproduct, it is the path that is crucial to attaining excellence.”
Kudos to the inspirational Dr. Adille Sumariwalla on this grand achievement and for leading by example!