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Will the world see Bach as new IOC chief?

German administrator said to be hot favourite to take over from Jacques Rogge

Gulf News

Dubai: Later this summer, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will vote for a new president.

Arrangements are being put in place at the Buenos Aires Hilton in Argentina to host the 125th IOC Session in September.

Among other things, the IOC will elect the host city for the 2020 Olympic Games and also consider adding a new sport to the 2020 Olympic programme.

But that is not what I want to get at. During the course of the Peace and Sport Forum that was held at the JW Marriott Marquis hotel in Dubai earlier this week, I had the fortune of meeting several sporting stars of yesteryears.

Among this impressive gathering were multiple world champions such as Tegla Loroupe, Wilson Kipketer, Hesham Al Guerrouj and Nawal Al Moutawakel. It truly is a humbling experience to get an opportunity to mix freely with some of the best names that adorned world sport not so long ago.

During her busy schedule, Al Moutawakel agreed to take a few questions from a couple of us journalists. One of the people present put the question to Al Moutawakel: “How serious are you about going for the post of IOC president?”

The Moroccan was left flustered. Attending a forum, she surely would not have expected someone to question her intentions regarding the top IOC post to replace Jacques Rogge.

She regained her composure and gave a very non-committal reply that she is “quite happy working with Jacques Rogge as IOC President” and that she still has until June 5 to decide if she will file her nomination.

For all I have read that the Moroccan star athlete — a 1984 gold medallist in Los Angeles — has shown her keenness to replace Rogge.

That set me thinking. During the course of the two days that I got unfettered access to the stars, I managed to slip in the odd question (off the record, of course) about the upcoming elections.

And here comes the truth: Unless something drastic happens in the next couple of months in the run-up to the elections, the world will have to accept a certain Thomas Bach of Germany as the next IOC President. People like Sergey Bubka, Richard Carrion, Wu Ching-kuo, Rene Fasel, Denis Oswald, Ng Ser Miang and Al Moutawakel are in the fray. But these are these just to ensure the so-called democratic process is followed.

For the time-being — and going solely by what I’ve heard from these great men and women — it will be the German who takes over as the ninth president of the IOC.

One of the sportspersons, perhaps in a moment of weakness, summed it up best by saying: “Welcome to the world of sport where politics is merely a part. In fact, a huge part.”

Let’s just wait and see what happens in September.

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SPORT PICTURE OF THE DAY: January 22, 2018


Serbia's Novak Djokovic hits a return against South Korea's Hyeon Chung during their men's singles fourth round match on day eight of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne.

AFP