Singapore's Ser Miang Ng officially launched his bid for the presidency of the International Olympic Committee on Thursday, saying he wanted youth to play a central role in the movement and to see IOC members more actively involved.
The 64-year-old businessman chose Sorbonne University in Paris for his announcement, the site where the IOC was founded in 1894 by Pierre de Coubertin.
IOC Vice President Ng is the second candidate for one of the top jobs in world sport. Germany's Thomas Bach, also an IOC vice president, announced his bid last week.
"I believe I have the experience and the knowledge to be a universal leader of the IOC, to empower membership and unify the movement," Ng told Reuters in an telephone interview on the day of his candidacy announcement in Paris.
"I humbly believe that I have the experience in consensus building, the understanding of the Olympic Movement, and a deep passion for Olympism that qualifies me to be that leader."
An IOC member since 1998, Ng becomes the first Asian to throw his hat into the ring for the election at the IOC session on September 10 in Buenos Aires.
"I have been talking to several members and we are looking at the future and we believe members want to be more actively involved," said Ng.
"Also we are looking at allocating resources, administrative and otherwise, to members."
He said he would be reaching out to the 100-plus IOC members later on Thursday.
"This morning I will be sending out a personal letter and my manifesto. On that basis we will discuss for the three and a half months leading to the Buenos Aires session," he said.
A former Singapore ambassador to Hungary and currently to Norway, and a former member of parliament, Ng's profile improved after he helped stage a successful inaugural Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010. The event is the brainchild of outgoing president Jacques Rogge.
Rogge, who succeeded Juan Antonio Samaranch in 2001, sees his two-term presidency come to a mandatory end in September.
"I would want to firstly refocus on the youth of the world, bring them into the centre of the movement and I believe it is one area where we can reach out more, working with different partners," added Ng.
"Also, to have more human legacies rather the infrastructure legacies (at the Games). We can also work closely with governments and explain more our work to the governments."
Asia will host the 2018 winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, while Tokyo is bidding for the 2020 summer Games.
None of the past IOC presidents, however, have come from Asia, a continent with a rapidly growing role in world sports, with all but one past president being European.
"I am proud to be Asian, but I am also a global citizen. This gives me a unique perspective as an IOC member," said Ng. "The job of the president is looking after a global organisation. I believe that I am not just an Asian."
There are more candidacies expected before the June 10 submission deadline, with Puerto Rican Richard Carrion, head of the IOC's Finance Commission, also expected to run for the job.
International boxing federation (AIBA) boss C.K. Wu of Taiwan and Swiss sports administrator Denis Oswald have also been mentioned as potential candidates along with former pole vault champion Sergei Bubka of Ukraine.
(Editing by Peter Rutherford)
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