Paris, Nov 21 (IANS) World Athletics has announced that world pole vault record-holder Renaud Lavillenie of France and four-time world shot put champion Valerie Adams of New Zealand will become the first active athletes to join the World Athletics Council as full voting members, following governance reforms introduced in 2016.
The newly elected Athletes’ Commission on Wednesday selected Lavillenie as the new chairperson and Adams as the deputy chairperson, and they will become the two athlete representatives on the Council for the next four years, reports Xinhua news agency.
“It’s very important to have athletes on the Council because we see that our sport is evolving and we need to keep the athletes at the centre of the discussion,” Lavillenie said.
“I am very happy to lead a good group of strong athletes who are thinking about the future. We need to be part of the decision-making process, not just the subject of the process. I am excited to have this new mission and to have these athletes with me.”
Adams, who is serving her second term on the Athletes’ Commission, said she completely supported Lavillenie as chair and was delighted to see two athletes included in the Council.
“It’s important to have those two votes in the Council because without athletes there is no athletics,” she said. “We are just the mouthpiece for the athletes around the world, but it’s important for us to have that voice.”
Lavillenie, 33 and Adams, 35, led the ballot when six new members were elected to the Athletes’ Commission during the World Championships in Doha earlier this year. Nearly two-thirds of the 1,833 athletes present in Doha voted.
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe welcomed Lavillenie and Adams to the 26-member Council, saying he expected they would make a substantial contribution to the sport’s decision-making body.
“Since my own competition days, I have been a strong advocate for athletes having a voice within sport,” Coe said. “We want our athletes to be leaders and to contribute their opinions on the issues and challenges we face in steering a global sport with 214 member countries in a rapidly changing world. That will only make athletics stronger and more relevant to coming generations,” he added.