(ATR) New PanamSports president Neven Ilic of Chile and Dominican Republic Olympic Committee chief Luis Mejia Oviedo are two of nine candidates nominated to join the International Olympic Committee.
"I am very happy, very proud of this great news for my country and for the Chilean Olympic Committee" Ilic tells Around the Rings in exclusive comments, his first since the nomination.
"I think it is a recognition of the work we have done for twelve years, in which we have shown that Chilean sport is growing, that Chilean sport is improving.
"From my point of view, I believe that the Olympic Movement is one of the best things to happen in this world. I believe that sport is the greatest thing that can happen to society and I am proud to be able to serve in that mission."
In an exclusive interview with Ilic last week, he told Around the Rings he had no idea if he would be nominated for the position and that his work would speak for itself.
"The only thing that I know is that I have to work, it’s the best way to apply for this honor," he said. "But I’ve been working for 12 years and now I have the big challenge with PASO."
Ilic’s post is tied to his leadership of the continental association for North and South America. Ilic is one of four nominees required by the Olympic Charter to join the IOC as constituents of the Olympic Movement. These candidates can serve until their relevant mandates expire.
Ilic is joined by Oman Olympic Committee president Khalid Muhammad Al Zubair as representatives of continental associations or NOCs.
World Rowing president Jean-Christophe Rolland and International Federation for Equestrian Sports president Ingmar De Vos are the two candidates nominated as representatives of International Federations.
At 63, Oviedo is the oldest of the five individual members nominated. Members can serve until they are 70.
The four individual members joining Oviedo are Oceania National Olympic Committees vice president Baklai Temengil (50), Czech Olympic Committee president Jiri Kejval (49), Norwegian Olympic Committee vice president Kristin Kloster Aasen (56) and Badminton Association of Thailand president Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul (52).
"These nine candidates will add to the huge range of knowledge and experience within the IOC membership," IOC president Thomas Bach said in a statement.
"In line with Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC has taken another step towards a more diverse membership, which will continue to drive reform and reflect the world in which we live."
If approved at the IOC Session in Lima, Peru this September, the nine candidates would bring the total IOC membership to 103. The Session will mark the first time the IOC has topped 100 members since 2013 when it contained 101.
Written by Kevin Nutley
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