Beijing, August 19: Britain’s Sebastian Coe was elected the Intertiol Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) president at the 50th IAAF Congress here on Wednesday.
Coe, a former Conservative Party lawmaker and a member of the House of Lords, a two-time Olympic 1,500-meter champion and chief organiser of the 2012 London Olympics, beat Ukrainian pole vault great Sergei Bubka and won the vote 115-92 in the IAAF election held on the eve of the world championships here. Coe said that winning the IAAF presidency ranked above winning Olympic gold or delivering the London Olympics in terms of momentous moments in his life.
“I think for most of us in this room we would conclude that the birth of our children is big moments in our lives and probably the biggest,” Coe was quoted as saying by guardian.com after his victory on Wednesday.
“But I have to say that the opportunity to work with all of you and shape the future of our sport is probably the second biggest and momentous decision in my life,” he said.
Former president Lamine Diack, who has been at the helm for 16 years, left with the track and field’s intertiol governing body under criticism after media allegations that he failed to act on evidence of widespread blood doping.
British Prime Minister David Cameron congratulated Coe on his victory.
“Delighted, Coe has been elected the new president of the IAAF. An outstanding athlete who delivered the brilliant London 2012 Olympics,” Cameron tweeted.
While both candidates called for an overhaul of the way the anti-doping programme is run, Coe was more forceful against critics by describing the accusations as a “declaration of war”.
Britain’s The Sunday Times newspaper reported earlier in August that one-third of medals in endurance races at the Olympics and world championships were won by athletes who have recorded suspicious blood readings. (IANS)