Nita Ambani – First Indian Woman to Distribute Medals at Olympics

Nita Ambani, the Founder and Chairperson of Reliance Foundation, was elected as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on the 4th of August, 2016. The election was conducted during the 129th IOC session, prior to the Rio Games.

Nita Ambani - Member of the IOC
Nita Ambani at the IOC Election session in Rio. (August 2016)

IOC membership

Olympic Agenda 2020 devised a new process for the recruitment and election of IOC members. The nomination focuses on selecting individuals based on their merit following which the election is conducted by existing IOC members.

Nita Ambani is currently the only active Indian member representing the country and will continue to do so till she completes 70 years of age. On being elected by the IOC, Nita Ambani explained how overwhelmed and grateful she felt. She said that the nomination truly reflects the recognition that India is receiving on an international level. Furthermore, she added that individuals across the globe are starting to accept the growing importance of India and appreciating the contribution made by Indian women.

Randhir Singh is also a former Indian Olympic Association Secretary General who served the IOC until 2014 and is currently an honorary member of the same.

The Rio Games

At the Rio 2016 Olympics, Nita Ambani became the first Indian woman to honor the winners with medals at an Olympic victory ceremony. She distributed medals to the winners of the women’s 400m freestyle event at the Rio Games.

She gave away the gold medal to American, Kathleen Ledecky who is the current world record-holder, the silver to Jazz Carlin of Great Britain, and the bronze to Leah Smith who is also an American participant.

Nita Ambani at Rio Olympics
Nita Ambani distributing a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics

Kathleen Ledecky set a new world record timing of 3:56.46. Carlin finished second with four minutes and 01.23 seconds while Smith came third with a timing of four minutes and 01.92 seconds.

Nita Ambani’s achievements

Nita Ambani founded Reliance Foundation which serves to extend the philanthropic activities undertaken by Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). The Indian Super League, India’s leading football tournament is also her brainchild.

She has been spearheading various sport-based initiatives in the country apart from heading projects in the fields of art, culture, health, and education. She intends to facilitate the development of other sports throughout the country across all demographics. This would fulfill her vision of India transforming into a multi-sports country.

The grassroots football initiative is a step towards achieving the same. It focuses on recognizing and developing talent across India. This program reached out to over 3 million children during its launch year itself.

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