RIO DE JANEIRO, August 18 /TASS/. Two-time Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva has been elected to the IOC Athletes’ Committee by 1,365 athlete votes.
The news was announced at a news conference held in the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.
Isinbayeva said she did not believe in her election to IOC Athletes’ Committee till the last minute.
"Honestly, I did not believe in it. I certainly deserved that, if my merits are taken into account, but I did not believe I would be elected until the very last minute," Isinbayeva said.
All the athletes who are competing in the Rio Olympic Games elected the commission’s members. Twenty-three candidates ran for the four vacant positions.
The other three newly-elected members include German fencer Britta Heidemann (1,603), South Korean table tennis player Ryu Seung-min (1,544) and Hungarian swimmer Daniel Gyurta (1,469).
The mandate of four-time Olympic swimming champion Alexander Popov who has represented Russia at the IOC Athletes’ Commission is expiring on August 21.
Isinbayeva, 34, the holder of 28 world records, will give a news conference devoted to the end of her sport career in Rio de Janeiro on August 19.
Lesson to IAAF
Russian Olympic Committee President Alexander Zhukov told journalists thet the election of Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva to the IOC Athletes’ Commission is a response to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which has banned her from competing in the Rio 2016 Olympics.
"It is a serious lesson to the IAAF leadership, who doubted that she was ‘clean’," Zhukov said. "It is a response of athletes from all parts of the world who voted for Lena. This is a victory for Lena and a victory for Russia. Under the current circumstances, the athletes of the world, in fact, voted for Russia," the ROC president said.
"We had looked forward to the decision and hoped for the victory. Today, it is extremely important for her and for her country that the Olympians had elected her at a time when she was banned from competing in the Olympics for some far-fetched reasons," the Russian Olympic Committee president said.
Sign of respect for Russian sport
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said Isinbayeva's election to IOC Athletes' Commission is sign of respect for Russian sport.
"No matter how western politicians, different kinds of leaders harm Russian sports, it is not officials but athletes that are the central figures. And the fact that they voted this way means that they respect Russian sports," Mutko added.
"This is a very significant event for Russian sports and for Lena personally, this is a new stage in her life," the minister said. "Now, she will be able to defend and protect interests of athletes, and sports as it is, at the level of international Olympic movement," he said.
She will be taking part in the settlement of many issues, he stressed. "She is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, she knows well the rights of athletes," Mutko went on. "What has happened today is a great challenge for her and a huge segment of work," he added.