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Ireland casts its vote in race for IAAF President, but who leads on the final lap?

It’s a big month ahead for the future of the sport.

Next month, on August 19 to be precise, the IAAF congress will take place in Beijing and national federations will vote to decide the future leader of the sport.

Head to head: Seb Coe and Sergey Bubka at the 2011 World Athletics Gala in Monaco. Image: PhotoRun

Head to head: Seb Coe and Sergey Bubka at the 2011 World Athletics Gala in Monaco. Image: PhotoRun

It’s a two-man race, with both candidates as established in the sporting boardrooms as they were in the athletics arena. In one corner is the well-spoken, Midas man and former champion miler Seb Coe. In the other, staring him down like the formidable Eastern European challenger in Rocky IV, is Sergey Bubka, the former world record holder in the pole vault.

For most of their exhaustive campaigns, which have seen them traverse the globe in search of support, there appears to have been little to separate the pair, with each holding favour in different regions. Today, though, Coe’s campaign received a major shot in the arm with news that 12 European countries, including Ireland, have pledged to support him.

 

As reported by Duncan Mackay on InsideTheGames, Coe has been promised backing from Ireland, Italy, Estonia, Andorra, Cyprus, Liechenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, San Marino, and Iceland.

“Seb Coe has all the characteristics, experience and know-how the sport needs in a new leader and we are very happy to confirm in an open manner that we will be voting for him,” Ciarán Ó Catháin, President of Athletics Ireland, said.

“He did an outstanding job as chairman of the London 2012 Olympic Games and has proven time and time again he has the morals, vision, leadership skills and passion to lead athletics into a successful future.”

In three weeks, we’ll have an answer who will succeed Lamine Diack, who is stepping down after 16 years at the helm.

More countries are expected to emerge with public backing of Coe in the coming week, giving him the undoubted lead as they enter the stretch run of the campaign. It’s a position the Briton rarely lost from during his running days, and it’s one he’s unlikely to relinquish now in the race for the sport’s top spot.

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Cathal Dennehy

Cathal Dennehy

Cathal Dennehy is a freelance journalist, a once-serious, now-retired athlete who writes for a number of international publications in the running industry. He has won two sports-writing awards, the Peter Ball Memorial Award in Ireland and the Wills Writing Award in the UK. Nationally, he previously worked for the Sunday Tribune, Irish Runner magazine and has written for the Sunday Independent, Irish Independent, the Guardian and The Independent in Britain. He is a regular contributor to Running Times, Runner's World, RunBlogRun and the IAAF website.
His banter levels are often poor, occasionally exceptional.

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