LONDON: Ukrainian pole vaulting legend Sergei Bubka has transformed himself into an influential sports politician and he will hope to emerge from this week’s International Olympic Committee Session even stronger.
The 48-year-old, who is the only athlete to have won six successive outdoor world titles, will face re-election to the Executive Board while Juan Antonio Samaranch junior, son of the late long-serving President of the IOC, is also likely to be up for election.
There are two vice-president spots up for grabs with Sir Craig Reedie — a major driving force behind the successful London bid for the Games — likely to be elevated from Board member to one of them.
One of the two vice-president spots became available when Italian Mario Pescante stood down over what he saw as the embarrassment of Rome withdrawing its candidacy for the 2020 Summer Games, the day before the deadline last year, as the government felt it could not offer the relevant financial guarantees.
Bubka is already a member but is keen to maintain his hold on the spot on the Board so as to maintain a high profile presence in sports politics and keep him in a strong position for his ultimate goal, a source close to the IOC told AFP. “Bubka dearly wants to be president of the IAAF (the International Association of Athletics Federations) and maintaining his position on the Board is of paramount importance,” he said.Bubka could face quite a fight for that post further down the line as Sebastian Coe is believed to be keen on succeeding Lamine Diack as the president of the IAAF.