POSTED: May 16th 2013

Ser Miang Ng launches campaign for IOC Presidency with focus on youth

Ser Miang Ng was in charge of the 1st Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Singapore 2010 / SNOC
Ser Miang Ng was in charge of the 1st Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Singapore 2010 / SNOC

JOHN GOODBODY / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) Ser Miang Ng today became the second person officially to be a candidate to succeed Dr. Jacques Rogge as president of the International Olympic Committee(IOC), pledging that he wanted to “place youth at the centre of the Olympic Movement.”

The 64 year-old successful businessman and diplomat from Singapore joins German Thomas Bach, a fellow IOC vice-president, who declared his candidature last week, in bidding to take over as the most important person in international sport. Dr. Rogge steps down on September 10 after 12 years in the post.

Making his announcement pointedly at the Sorbonne in Paris, where Baron de Coubertin founded the IOC in 1894, Ng said that he had taken the decision to stand after consulting with fellow IOC members   “over the last year” and formally telling Dr. Rogge in a private meeting at the IOC’s head-quarters in Lausanne, Switzerland on Wednesday.

Ng said that the IOC ”had achieved many great things” since its foundation in 1894, two years before the staging of the first Modern Olympics in Athens but he added:”I believe we can do more and must do more. We should refocus on the education of youth through the values of sport.”

Ng chaired the organising committee of the first Youth Olympics in Singapore in 2010, a favourite project of Dr. Rogge, and told the audience in Paris that this experience had confirmed his belief in the importance of youth in the Olympic Movement, adding:”We must protect the integrity of sport against match-fixing, doping and irregular betting.”

Although not deliberately mentioning Bach, he implicitly contrasted his background to that of the German by stating that he came from a society which was “multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural”, while also understanding “European values” because he had been his country’s ambassador to Norway and Hungary.

He said that he regarded himself as a “global citizen” and had travelled the world in his roles as a member of the IOC Evaluation Commission for the 2012 Games and a member of the IOC Co-ordination Commission for the 2008 Olympics and 2012 London Games.

Born in China and, like Dr Rogge, a former international sailor, he will attract support from the Far East, the growing power in the Olympic Movement, although votes may be split if Ching-Kuo Wu of Chinese Taipei  also stands.

Ng said that he accepted that it might be time for an Asian President –seven of the eight people who have held the post have been European – but “more than that” his fellow IOC members would be looking in a future president for the “style and what can be brought to the Olympic Movement . I want to empower the IOC members and reach out to the youth of the world.”

Ng, who has been a member of the IOC since 1998 and was elected to the Executive Board, the ruling body of the IOC, in 2005, has risen swiftly through the ranks of the self-elected organisation, which oversees the Summer and Winter Games. He clearly is a formidable opponent to Bach, as will be Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico, who heads the IOC’s finance and audit commissions and is expected to announce his candidature shortly.

Unlike Dr. Rogge, who was elected to the post only two years after the Salt Lake City ‘votes-for-cash –and-favours- scandal’ nearly brought down the IOC, his successor will take over in an atmosphere of relative calm. During Dr. Rogge’s presidency, the financial reserves have been shored up so that if any Games had to be cancelled, the IOC could still survive.

In addition, the last Summer Games in London were hailed by many as the best-ever in the history of the Movement.

** JOHN GOODBODY covered the 2012 Olympics for The Sunday Times, his 12th successive Summer Games and is the author of the audio book A History of the Olympics, read by Barry Davies, the BBC commentator. He was Sports News Correspondent of The Times 1986-2007, for whom he received journalistic awards in all three decades on the paper, including Sports Reporter of The Year in 2001.  

Keywords · IOC · Presidency · Olympics · Ser Miang Ng · Thomas Bach · CK Wu · Richard Carrion

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