Having been at the helm of affairs as president of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) for 15 years, the Senegalese-born Lamine Diack said it is time to call it quit.
He made this pronouncement during a lunch organized by the IAAF at the Terrou Bi Hotel in Dakar Senegal last Thursday March 20 for over 60 sports journalists from across Africa who participated in the just concluded AIPS-Africa Congress.
“My term as the IAAF President ends next year and I will not seek another mandate to be president of the IAAF,” he said.
He recalled his days at high school when he was practicing journalism just to earn a living.
“At that time, I used to write about football and athletics to compliment what I get from people as stipend but never took it as a career,” he added, and continued: “however, during those trying times I was opportune to meet and make friends with those in authorities who encouraged me to pay attention in sports.”
Lamine Diack who celebrated his 80th birthday last year June 3rd, admonished the African sports journalists to work strongly as a team, group and family to fight for the power of sports in their different countries.
“It is only when you work as a united front your job becomes relevant, you uphold your integrity, your independence and puts you in the position to negotiate from the power of strength,’ he said.
Born in Dakar on 7 June 1933, Lamine Diack told the gathering as president of a sport association or federation one should work very hard for the progress of sports rather than putting on tie and living a luxurious life.
A talented long jumper who won the 1958 French title and achieved his personal best of 7.72m when he won the 1959 French Universities Championships the following year, Lamine Diack suffered a knee injury which dashed his ambitions of going to the 1960 Olympic Games.
Lamine Diack was elected to the IAAF Council at the 30th IAAF Congress in 1976 that was held in the Canadian city of Montreal, and became Senior Vice-President of the organization in 1991.
He ascended to his present position as the IAAF chief after the death of the federation’s fourth President Primo Nebiolo November 7 1999, and subsequently was re-elected unopposed in 2001, 2003, 2007 and in 2011.
He became a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since December 1999 and is one of the few Africans ever to be a leader of an international sports federation.
Credit: SWASAL; Sponsor: Mercury Int.’l (SL) Ltd.
By stories complied by Frank Cole
Tuesday March 25, 2014