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Nita Ambani nominated to the International Olympic Committee

MUMBAI: Billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s wife, Nita Ambani, who is founder-chairperson of Reliance Foundation, has been nominated as an independent member to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

If elected, she will serve as an IOC member until she reaches the age of 70.

The election for the IOC membership is scheduled at the 129th IOC Session at Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, between 2 and 4 August, this year.

Nita_Ambani“This is a very outstanding group of personalities that are experts in their respective fields,” IOC president Thomas Bach said, as he announced the names of the eight candidates at a press conference in Lausanne.

The list of candidates also includes Anant Singh, a South African film producer who was raised during the country’s apartheid era and who wrote a book on the late Nelson Mandela called ‘Long Walk to Freedom’. He also produced ‘Yesterday’, which was South Africa’s first Oscar-nominated film.

Incidentally, Mrs Ambani will be the first Indian woman to become an IOC member, after the late Sir Dorabji Tata and Raja Randhir Singh, who is currently an honorary member of the organisation.

In a statement, Nita Ambani said, “It is truly an honour and a privilege to be nominated by the IOC. 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 the IOC for this opportunity. It’s a recognition of India and Indian women. I look forward to the opportunity to contributing in meeting the goals of IOC,” the statement said.

Mrs Ambani happens to head all sports initiatives of Reliance Industries, such as cricket, football, basketball, kabaddi, tennis and golf, mostly through the company or the Reliance Foundation. She is involved in managing the IPL team Mumbai Indians and is also regarded as one of the architects of the Indian Super League (ISL).

Mrs Ambani has been nominated by the IOC Members Election Commission because she possesses “different sets of skills and knowledge” and will bring in “the necessary balance in terms of gender and geography”.

Her nomination has been welcomed by several sportsmen, including cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra.

Tendulkar wrote on his Twitter handle, “Lovely to see Bollywood coming out in full force felicitating Mrs ambani. Unprecedented love for the Olympic Movement! #new era. Congratulations #NitaAmbani on nomination to #IOC. Her passion for sports development is laudable. Proud moment for India & Women Power!”

“Congrats Mrs Nita Ambani on IOC nomination! Making India proud with grassroots work and now at the highest level as well! Hope to see you soon,” boxer Mary Kom tweeted.