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Kiplagat to vie for IAAF VP, Coe presidency

KIPLAGAT-FACE-2NAIROBI, November 27- Long-serving Athletics Kenya (AK) president, Isaiah Fundi Kiplagat has formally declared he will run for one of the vice-presidency posts of world body IAAF in next year’s elections.

Speaking to Capital Sport on Thursday after Britain’s middle distance legend, Lord Sebastian Coe announced he will vie to succeed Senegalese Lamine Diack, 80, as president, Kiplagat said campaigns were already underway for the plum post.

“They all know that I’m in the running and now my candidature can be made public. Lamine has led us to greater heights in the sport since he took over and my mission is to ensure the next glorious chapter is written.

“The experience I have in administration of the sport as president of AK and a long-serving IAAF Council member will help our new president in ensuring our most popular sport in the Olympics grows even further,” Kiplagat affirmed.

He pledged to give a more detailed mission statement for his campaign as he embarks in leading organisation of the 2017 IAAF World Youth Championships awarded to Kenya by the Governing Council of the world body in Monaco last week.

The veteran administrator who has been at the helm of AK for 22 years is facing dissent on the home front with 14 out of the 16 branches pushing to have him relinquish his position but Thursday’s announcement is indication he is not done yet.

Kiplagat is eyeing to take up one of the vice-presidency positions that will be vacated by Coe and Ukrainian Pole vault world record holder, Sergey Bubka who are expected to contest for the IAAF presidency when Diack steps down after 16 years in charge.

A court case challenging the Special General Meeting called by the rebel branches will be heard this week after the gathering was stopped by an order from the High Court as they prepared to hold it at Nairobi’s Riadha House federation headquarters.

Behind the scenes efforts to diffuse the simmering row are going on with the branch bosses being given audience by Cabinet Secretary for Sport, Arts and Culture, Dr. Hassan Wario.

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Top retired and active athletes including Paul Tergat and IOC Member have called on both sides to rally behind the 2017 World Youth.

Earlier, BBC reports; Coe is to run for the top job in athletics having served as a vice-president of the body that governs world athletics since 2007.

Having led the team that staged the acclaimed London 2012 Games, Lord Coe has been widely tipped to become the most powerful man in world athletics.

Coe has made no secret of his desire to succeed Diack. The 58-year-old former middle-distance runner, who won his gold medals at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, said his manifesto would “highlight the importance of our sport”.

During a distinguished athletics career, Lord Coe won four Olympic medals – including 800m silvers in 1980 and 1984 – and set 11 world records in middle distance track events. His rivalry with fellow Britons Steve Ovett and Steve Cram dominated middle-distance running during the 1980s.

If elected IAAF president, the current chairman of the British Olympic Association will be expected to provide leadership for the most popular Olympic sport at a crucial time. Challenges would include falling TV audiences, competition for sponsors and spectators from rival sports like football, and the threat of regular doping scandals.

Coe would also join a growing list of British administrators at the helm of global sports bodies, such as Sir Craig Reedie at the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), Sir Philip Craven at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Brian Cookson at the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).

“I want us to have a renewed focus on engagement with young people and a real understanding of the global landscape that is shaping the next generation of athletes and fans,” said Coe.

“If we are guided by these principles as we review and reform our sport then I am convinced that athletics can enter a new era with confidence and ensure a bright and exciting future.”

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Coe recently defended the IAAF’s controversial decision to award Doha the right to host the 2019 World Athletics Championships.

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