PT Usha, centre, was elected as the first woman President of the Indian Olympic Association today ©Getty Images

PT Usha was elected as the first woman President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) today.

The four-time Asian Games gold medallist was elected unopposed, under the supervision of Supreme Court-appointed retired judge L Nageswara Rao.

She succeeds Narinder Batra, who stood down as President of the IOA in July, citing personal reasons.

The 58-year-old, who finished fourth in the 400 metres hurdles final at Los Angeles 1984 Olympics, is the first Olympian and international medallist to head the IOA.

It is hoped that Usha's election will see an end to the long-standing governance issues that have plagued the National Olympic Committee (NOC).

Last week, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board observed "significant progress" on its concerns with the IOA.

The NOC was issued a "final warning" over persistent governance issues during an Executive Board meeting in September.

However, the elections could be a significant step for the NOC to regain the trust of the IOC.

Elections were initially supposed to take place in December 2021 but were held up by a court case, with the NOC accused of violating the national sports code.

Usha was nominated to the Rajya Sabha by India's ruling right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party in July.

According to reports, she is being seen as a candidate of the ruling party.

She is the first sportsperson to have represented India and lead the IOA since Maharaja Yadavindra Singh, who played a cricket Test match in 1934.

Usha said she is "looking forward to upholding the Olympic values" on Twitter, following her election.

The former sprinter is also among the eight sportspersons of outstanding merit (SOMs) picked by the newly-elected IOA Athletes' Commission.

Olympic bronze medallist wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, Moscow 1980 Olympic hockey champion M M Somaya, former tennis player Rohit Rajpal, Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games boxing gold medallist Akhil Kumar, Manchester 2002 champion shooter Suma Shirur, multiple Commonwealth Games badminton medallist Aparna Popat and Asian and Commonwealth Games medallist archer Dola Banerjee are the other SOMs.

India was scheduled to host the IOC Session next year in Mumbai in May. 

But it was postponed due governance issues and is expected to be held in September or October 2023.