Veteran Indian sports chief takes over at Asia Olympics body

VETERAN Indian sports administrator Raja Randhir Singh on Saturday took over as head of the Olympic Council of Asia after its former Kuwaiti leader was sentenced to jail in a forgery case.

Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, a member of Kuwait’s ruling family, stepped aside as Asia’s top sports official after the Geneva court found him guilty on Friday over a plot against political rivals in the Gulf state.

Singh, 74, said in a statement he was taking over as interim president as the longest-serving member of the OCA executive.

“I have every confidence that Sheikh Ahmad will be successful in his appeal,” Singh said, adding that he would seek “to ensure the continued smooth running of the organisation in the critical period ahead.”

Asia will host the 2022 Winter Olympics in China in February and has just started the one-year countdown to the Asian Games in the Chinese city of Hangzhou.

Singh, a former Olympic shooter, was a member of the International Olympic Committee executive until 2015 and helped bring events such as the 2010 Commonwealth Games to India.

Sheikh Ahmad had been one of the most powerful sport’s bosses in the world until his court troubles erupted.

He was handed a 30-month prison sentence for the alleged plot, half of which was suspended.

Five defendants, including Sheikh Ahmad, were found guilty over a forgery scheme linked to efforts to show that Kuwait’s former prime minister and parliament speaker were guilty of coup-plotting and corruption.

Sheikh Ahmad denied any wrongdoing and said after the sentence was delivered that he would appeal. His office said he would “temporarily step aside” from his OCA role “until he has successfully appealed today’s verdict”.

He stepped down from the IOC in 2018 when the charges were laid.

(AFP)

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