Tergat elated by Olympic role after crushing vote

By evelyn watta
Sep 10, 2013
  • Paul Tergat is sworn in as IOC member during the session in Buenos Aires.(Photo:IOC)

  • Paul Tergat(Right,Dagmawit Girmay Berhane the Secretary General of the Olympic committee of Ethiopia new IOC members are congratulated by ANOCA president Lassana Palenfo.(Photo:SNA)

Buenos Aires, As expected former world marathon record holder Paul Tergat became the second Kenyan to serve on the International Olympics Committee, one of the nine new members voted in on Tuesday.

Tergat received an overwhelming 86 votes and will now serve on the Olympic Committee for the next eight years with a possibility of renewal after the expiry of his mandate.

“It is a surprise and pleasing to be voted overwhelming by the members. I feel the whole world appreciates what I’ve done for the sport and their expectations for me should be equally big,” said Tergat who got the members nod alongside Dagmawit Girmay Berhane the Secretary General of the Olympic committee of Ethiopia, one of the five African female members now serving in the IOC.

“But just the way I ran my races and broke the records am ready for the administration challenge that awaits ahead.”

The supreme decision-making body of the IOC - now comprises 112 members who are individuals, active athletes or representatives of International Federations and National Olympic Committees.

Tergat, 43, replaces Kipchoge Keino, the National Olympics Committee Chairman who became an IOC honorary member two years ago after more than 10 years of service and attaining the mandatory retirement age of 80.

“This has been a long road and very rewarding for me. Coming all the way as an athlete to where I am now sitting on the apex of sports administration. I hope my election can inspire my fellow sportsmen back home."

“We do have world class athletes but when it comes to leadership and administration we have never been so sound as we should be. I feel the weight on my shoulder representing the great athletes from Ethiopia and Africa,” offered Berhane who is also the Vice President of the Africa Badminton Confederation.

Now Africa has 14 IOC members 

Berhane, Tergat and Zimbabwe’s Multiple Olympic medalist swimmer Kirsty Coventry who was sworn in at the last extraordinary session in Lausanne last July, are now Africa’s newest IOC members replacing IAAF president Lamine Diack and ANOCA President Lassanna Palenfo now serving as honorary members.

For Palenfo the challenge still lies ahead to get more African members on the pinnacle of sports leadership.

“We had African 20 members sometime but we have lost others while others like myself have become honorary members.Now we have 14 members for me it is not enough as before we were 20, we have to do more,” said Palenfo who singled out having five women including Moroccan Nawal EL Moutawakkel, the IOC Vice President as a big achievement for Africa.

Tergat who was later sworn in alongside the other eight new members did not take part in the voting of the IOC President or board members.

He will take part in the next IOC session preceding the Sochi winter Olympics in February 2014 in Russia.