Gusau Fails Bid to Become IAAF Vice-president, Coe Elected for a Second Term

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Ibrahim Shehu Gusau

President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Ibrahim Shehu Gusau’s ambition of getting elected as vice president of the IAAF crashed yesterday at the 52nd Congress of the world track & field body in Doha, Qatar.

With the unresolved case of the extra $135,000 mistakenly paid into the AFN account unresolved, delegates at the Congress effectively shunned Gusau, preferring instead to vote a former world-classed quarter miler, Ximena Restrepo of Colombia as the first woman to become the first vice president of IAAF.

Restrepo is Nigeria’s Falilat Ogunkoya’s contemporary in the 400m circuit. She won a 400m bronze medal at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.

Incumbent Sebastian Coe was elected president of IAAF for a second term.

All 203 voting members of Congress voted for Coe; there were no abstained votes.

The other three vice presidents elected yesterday include former pole vault world record holder and Olympic champion Sergey Bubka of Ukraine, Geoffrey Gardner and Nawaf Bin Mohammed Al Saud.

Coe welcomed Restrepo, who now lives in Chile, as one of the new Vice Presidents and offered his congratulations.

“Ximena is a former athlete which is tremendously helpful when you’re driving the sport forward,” said Coe. “I am delighted that we have for the very first time elected a female Vice President and that she will be joined by seven other women on council. This is a historic moment.”

“I’m really honoured to take this position,” said Restrepo. “It’s a great moment for me and for my country. I would like to thank you, Seb, because this was only made possible because of you and the changes made to the constitution.

“I think we, as women, now have more opportunities than before. I just hope I can do a good job. I’d like to thank all of the member federations who voted for me. I hope I can be all that they expected me to be.”

Congress also elected new members of the IAAF Council.

The newly elected members are: Hiroshi Yokokawa (JPN), Antti Pihlakoski (FIN),
Anna Riccardi (ITA), Nan Wang (CHN), Adille Sumariwalla (IND), Nawal El Moutawakel (MAR), Abby Hoffman (CAN), Sylvia Barlag (NED), Alberto Juantorena (CUB), Willie Banks (USA), Raul Chapado (ESP), Dobromir Karamarinov (BUL) and Beatrice Ayikoru (UGA).

The IAAF Council will be composed of 26 members, eight of whom are women.