Russia’s embattled athletics body today elected a new “anti-crisis” president, regional sports bureaucrat Dmitry Shlyakhtin, who has promised to rescue its reputation from doping claims ahead of the Rio Olympics.
Shlyakhtin, who has served as a regional sports official, was backed by Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko and elected unanimously to head the All-Russian Athletics Federation (ARAF) after two other candidates withdrew themselves from the vote.
He will serve as an “anti-crisis” head of the body for the next several months, through the Olympic Games in Rio, before another vote in September or October, Mutko told journalists ahead of the decision.
“In this difficult period for Russian athletics, my task is simple, to return the federation to the international level, to reinstate trust of IAAF and WADA, to give our athletes the opportunity to compete in international events,” he told journalists after the vote.
“We must solve all of these problems quickly,” he said, after Mutko said he hoped to “reinstate all the powers of our athletics federation in March.”
Virtually unknown outside of Russia, Shlyakhtin has been sports minister of the Samara region on the Volga river for the last three years. Before that he headed the CSKA athletics club.
Mutko further called Shlyakhtin an “ideal candidate” and man of great experience reorganising CSKA.