Namibia’s legendary former sprinter Frank Fredericks climbed a step further up the international athletics ladder on Thursday, when he was elected as a council member of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
During the 50th IAAF Congress held on the eve of the World Championships at the Chinese National Convention Centre in Beijing on Thursday, where British great Sebastian Coe was elected as new IAAF president, Fredericks led the pack of newly elected council members with 125 votes, followed by Hiroshi Yokokawa of Japan with 98 votes.
Antti Pihlakoski of Finland came in 3rd with 84 votes, Bernard Amsalem of France in 4th with 75 votes, Mikhail Butov of Russia 5th with 69 votes, while Adille Sumariwalla of India amassed 61 votes. Nawaf Bin Mohammed Al Saud of South Africa completed the line-up with 55 votes.
The new IAAF Council will be headed by Coe, who replaces Lamine Diack of Senegal as the new president, pipping former world pole vault record holder Sergey Bubka from the Ukraine. The members were elected to serve for the next four years from 2015-2019.
Bubka was elected as one of the four vice-presidents with a total of 187 votes. The other three vice-presidents are Dahlan Al Hamad of Qatar with 159 votes, Hamad Kalkaba Malboum of Cameroon with 115 votes and Alberto Juantorena Danger of Cuba with 111.
Also making up the council are the four area representatives – Svein Arne Hansen of Norway for Europe, Victor Lopez of Puerto Rico for NACAC, Geoffrey Gardner for the Oceania and Roberto Gesta de Melo of Brazil for South America.
Speaking to BBC News after the congress, the Namibian former 200m world champion and Olympic sprint silver medalist congratulated Coe on his election, saying he strongly believes the Briton boasts the required experience to ”rescue athletics” from the widely reported doping allegations and drug cheats.
Fredericks, a multiple world champion and Namibia’s only Olympic medalist, still holds the world record for the oldest man to have broken 20 seconds for the 200m. In 2002 in Rome, Fredericks won the 200m in a time of 19.99 seconds at the age of 34 years and 283 days. Fredericks has broken 20 seconds for the 200m, 24 times.