Olympic great Coe bids for IAAF vice presidency

Aug 20, 2007 - 1:07 PM By David Martin Special to PA SportsTicker

OSAKA, Japan (Ticker) - Lord Sebastian Coe will bid to become a vice president of the International Association of Athletics Federations on Tuesday.

If successful, the former Olympics middle-distant champion could eventually become leader of the world governing body.

Lamine Diack will be returned unopposed as president at the IAAF Congress in Osaka and has already indicated this will be his last term in office.

Diack retires in 2011 and Coe's challenge to become one of four vice presidents suggests he will be a clear candidate to succeed the 74-year-old.

Coe has seven rivals for the post and can expect tough opposition from fellow Olympic champions Sergey Bubka and Alberto Juantorena.

Bubka, the 1988 pole vault gold medalist, and Juantorena, the 1976 double winner over 400 and 800 meters, are longer-serving council members.

Apart from the athletes in the running, Finnish cabinet Minister Ilkka Kanerva is also a highly-rated opponent and popular after the huge success of the last world championships two years ago in Helsinki.

Bubka, 43, has proven strengths. Now a Ukrainian exile in the French village of Ez on the border of the IAAF's headquarters in Monaco, he regularly carries out unpaid work for the body.

More importantly, he is still a popular figure in the former communist satellite states and can expect votes from eastern Europe.

Juantorena, 56, will reap those from South America. The Cuban could also clean up further north - the United States and Canada excepted - unless some prefer fellow council member Amadeo Francis of Puerto Rico.

But 50-year-old Coe is held in high esteem worldwide after steering London to win the 2012 Olympic bid ahead of Paris.

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