At the IAAF Athletes’ Commission meeting in Monaco on Saturday (27), Rozle Prezelj was elected as the new Chairman.
Prezelj represented Slovenia in the high jump at three Olympics and four IAAF World Championships. A European under-23 champion in 2001, Prezelj set a national record of 2.32m in 2012 before retiring in 2014.
He takes over as Chairman of the commission from Frank Fredericks with immediate effect.
Britain’s marathon world record-holder Paula Radcliffe was nominated Vice Chairwoman of the commission.
After an opening address from IAAF President Sebastian Coe, and with IAAF General Secretary and CEO Jean Gracia also in attendance, the commission held fruitful and constructive discussions and debates during their meeting.
Sebastian Coe commented: “I was very pleased to meet with our Athletes’ Commission. I offer my deepest thanks and gratitude to Frank Fredericks, the outgoing chairperson, for his unstinting passion and commitment on behalf of athletes everywhere since he was elected in 2011. Many congratulations to his successor Rozle Prezelj and to Paula Radcliffe, the vice chairperson. They lead the commission at a crucial time for athletics’ future. The commission’s continued support and guidance is vital as we implement reforms across the IAAF and the sport to rebuild trust, in particular supporting clean athletes and honest competition.”
Frank Fredericks commented: “I’m delighted to be succeeded by Rozle Prezelj, who was elected by the Commission members, and wish him the very best as Chairperson. It’s been a pleasure to lead the Commission working with my fellow members to help promote the needs of the world’s clean athletes which must be the IAAF’s primary responsibility. As an IAAF Council member, I’ll of course continue to offer a prominent voice in their support.”
Rozle Prezelj commented: “I’m most gratified by this show of confidence from my fellow commission members for entrusting me with this big responsibility in these challenging times to represent the athlete community. I will do my very best to justify their trust as Chairperson. In taking over from Frank Fredericks, I wish to thank him for his tireless commitment as an ambassador for athletes.”
The main focus of Saturday’s meeting was about how the athlete voice can be fully heard, and the creation of a strong Athlete Code was proposed whereby all clean athletes would be encouraged to show solidarity.
They also explored ways of improving methods for athletes to report their concerns so that they can be thoroughly investigated by the integrity unit while maintaining full confidentiality.
Other discussion points included: more stringent controls for recovering prize money when athletes fail anti-doping tests; sanctions and fines for coach and entourage offenders; and better investigation into historic cases.
Stronger request, support and encouragement for athlete commissions in all member federations was also proposed as a way to strengthen the IAAF Athletes Commission.
There was also a presentation on the IAAF Competition Programme delivered by Competition Director Paul Hardy.
Along with Fredericks, Prezelj and Radcliffe, the other Athletes’ Commission members in attendance were: Tommi Evila, Michael Frater, Koji Murofushi, Christian Olsson, Alina Talay and Andreas Thorkildsen.