The Slovenia Times

European Athletics Association Holds Congress in Slovenia


Proceedings already started at Bled on Thursday and through Sunday over 200 delegates from 50 European national associations as well as former top athletes will be taking part.

The EAA delegates will elect a new president, as incumbent Hansjörg Wirz is biding farewell after running the organisation for 16 years.

Bidding to replace him are France's Jean Garcia, Norway's Svein Arne Hansen and Antti Pihlakoski of Finland, all of them long-standing athletics officials.

The congress will also elect three vice-presidents and 13 members of the organisation's governing council.

One of the candidates for a seat on the council is also president of the Slovenian Athletics Association Gregor Benčina.

The 24th EAA congress is being held in Slovenia for the second time in ten years and Benčina is hopeful that "home field advantage" will get him elected despite Slovenia's small size and correspondingly low influence in the athletics world.

Aside from the election of the new leadership, the EAA event is seen as a key opportunity for lobbying ahead of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) congress in August in Beijing, China.

Accordingly, both European candidates for the top post, former top athletes Sergey Bubka and Sebastian Coe, are in Slovenia for the proceedings.

The incumbent IAAF president Lamine Diack will be also among the guests at the congress.

The congress also features a number of fringe events, foremost among them a business and sports conference at Bled on Friday.

The delegates will also be received by President Borut Pahor and Prime Minister Miro Cerar.

On a lighter note, Bubka yesterday visited the athletics school of hammer throwing Olympic champion Primož Kozmus to meet the first generation of children training there.


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