Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lots of stuff happening in Beijing while in transit to world championships...

HONG KONG—paulmerca.blogspot.com’s coverage of the IAAF World Track & Field Championships begins today as I’m sitting here in the Hong Kong airport waiting to transfer to another Cathay Pacific flight.

My trip started off with a flight to San Francisco late Tuesday night, then a 12+ hour flight to Hong Kong.

Shortly before leaving San Francisco, the IAAF announced that Olympic gold medalist Sebastian Coe of Great Britain (above/photo courtesy IAAF/Getty) was elected the new president of the organization, defeating another Olympic gold medalist, Sergey Bubka of Ukraine.

In his post-election press conference, Coe, who won gold in the 1500 at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, said, “I am deeply honored that our sport has placed its trust in me. There is no job I want to do more – nor with greater commitment.” 

Coe takes office on August 31st, the day after the conclusion of the world championships.

“I’m very flattered, very, very honoured to have been elected President. I haven’t had much of a chance to let it sink in,” commented Coe at a press conference Wednesday.

"I want to thank the (member) federations but I also want to thank those that cover and broadcast our sport. We tend to forget that the media is most potent sponsor of our sport; and I will maintain my chairmanship of the media committee.”

In other election notes, USA Track & Field president Stephanie Hightower was elected to the IAAF Council, while two influential people within the sport with Washington ties were elected to key IAAF committee positions.

Bill Roe of Bellingham, who founded Seattle based Club Northwest and Northwest Runner magazine, was elected to a spot on the IAAF Cross Country Committee.  Roe, who was the president of USA Track & Field from 2000-2008, and who also served as an interim CEO, has been an international team leader or coach for the United States at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships nine times. He was a U.S. delegate for IAAF Congress in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007. 

Anne Phillips, who was a middle distance runner at the University of Washington from 1979-81 from Spokane, was elected chairman of the IAAF Women’s Committee.  The Montana resident was first elected to the Women’s Committee in 2011, was a member of the IAAF Cross Country and Road Running Committee from 1996-2008 and has worked as an ICRO at the 2008 IAAF World Cross Country Championships and 2005 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. She has served on three U.S. international teams and was race director of the 1993 USATF Cross Country Championships. Her USATF committee work includes the USATF Women’s Track & Field Executive Committee and International Relations Committee.

On the agenda for paulmerca.blogspot.com upon arrival later today will include a stop at the Bird’s Nest to pick up credentials and to get the lay of the land, and most importantly, adjust to the time zone.

We will also have a viewer’s guide featuring the four athletes with Washington ties competing here in Beijing—Cas Loxsom, Kara Winger, Brad Walker and Jeremy Taiwo.

In the meantime, we’ll just chill here in Hong Kong!

NOTE:  USA Track & Field and the IAAF contributed to this report.

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