Today is my first day of office as President of the IAAF. I am very excited and proud to have been given an opportunity to lead our great sport into the new era that lies ahead. I am looking forward to working closely with my colleagues on the IAAF Council, who yesterday accepted my recommendation to appoint Sergey Bubka as our Senior Vice President.
Beijing has been a wonderful edition of the IAAF World Championships. The stadium has been full over nine days, morning and evening, with an energetic and enthusiastic crowd who have been enthralled by the world’s greatest athletes.
Athletics has been at the centre of my life since I was a young boy. Everything I am today can be credited to my experiences and successes in this sport and my mission now is to enhance the sport’s ability to inspire and entertain. Athletics is about sporting performance and success but also about values which have the strongest ethical foundations.
With the support of my Council colleagues, I am determined to ensure that athletics remains at the heart of the Olympic Movement. We will continue to put the interest of athletics first and retain the level of independence necessary to help us do the right thing for our sport.
Our approach will be a simple one: to ensure that the IAAF works in the service of the Member Federations and the athletes.
And I am determined to get out of the starting blocks quickly, so today we begin a detailed review of our existing management structures and use of resources to ensure that within the next 100 days, IAAF Council can approve new systems and teams which are necessary for delivering our ambitious plans. We are committed to ensuring good governance in everything that we do and, as a starting point, our legal team has been asked to conduct an in-depth review of the IAAF Constitution and related governance.
A new Member Federations Relations team has also been created to ensure Member Federations are fully engaged and involved in shaping the future of the sport.
Work has also began on a review and enhancement of our current IAAF Commissions and working groups to ensure that the IAAF Council gets the best possible advice and support moving forwards.
Finally, a working group has been set up to look into the possibility of establishing a new over-arching integrity unit for athletics which would house an anti-doping operation with greater independence and have access to a newly formed independent tribunal to hear doping cases of international level athletes (and support personnel). This will be done without impeding or in any way delaying investigations currently underway.
These are exciting times for athletics and I am delighted to be in a position to help the sport break new barriers.
photos Janos Schmidt