The Slovenia Times

Norway's Hansen Elected Top European Athletics Official


The president of the Norwegian Athletics Association received 26 of a total of 50 votes to succeed Hansjörg Wirz, who is leaving the post after 16 years.

In the first round of the voting, Hansen beat Jean Gracia of France, who received 19 votes, while the third candidate for the EA president, Antti Pihlakoski of Finland, got five votes.

"The elections were exciting as usual. I had a lot of confidence in myself and my candidacy, as a majority of the European athletics knows me," Hansen said, adding that he would present his priorities on Sunday.

Hansen was a long-time chair of the Oslo athletics meet, one of the biggest events of the kind in the world. "We are very proud of our meeting...and we will certainly transfer the good practice from this competition to the managing of the EA."

Gracia was meanwhile elected vice-president of the association along with Dobromir Karamarinov of Bulgaria and Frank Hansel of Germany.

The congress also elected members of the EA council, the highest body of the association between congresses, with the head of the Slovenian Athletics Association Gregor Benčina making it along 12 other officials.

Benčina, who has been at the helm of the national association since January 2013, said that his election meant that "we are working well and that the world takes us with much seriousness and respect".

"Slovenian athletics is facing new challenges. We are aware that great results cannot be achieved without adequate infrastructure," he said, expressing hope that yesterday's meetings with top political officials would help launch certain projects.

The new leadership took over immediately after the congress, which was the second time in 10 years it was held in Slovenia.

The event is seen also as an opportunity for lobbying ahead of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) congress in August in Beijing, China.

Accordingly, both 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 was also among the guests at the congress.


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