Bubka: 'I will stay and serve in any position' at IAAF

Sergei Bubka plans to continue to serve in the IAAF even if he loses the presidential election to Sebastian Coe.

The athletics greats are in the final months of campaigning for the presidency of the world governing body.

Bubka, the former pole vault star from Ukraine, is a candidate for president and vice president in the Aug. 19 elections in Beijing on the eve of the world championships.

Putting his name down for one of the four VP spots gives Bubka a chance to run for the second post if he loses the presidential vote. As VP, he would serve under Coe, the former two-time Olympic 1,500-meter champion from Britain.

''Athletics has given me everything,'' Bubka told The Associated Press. ''This is why I also put down for the vice president. I would stay and serve athletics in any position. This is clear for me because this is the sport which made me who I am today.''

Coe is bidding for president only. Should he lose, he would presumably be out altogether from the International Association of Athletics Federations.

''I feel that in order to lead change at the IAAF and help create a new golden era for athletics, I can best do that through the position of president,'' Coe said in a statement to the AP on Thursday.

Coe and Bubka are current vice presidents and part of the IAAF Council.

''For me, any position - president, vice president, council or something else - it's important to give back to sport,'' Bubka said in an interview in Lausanne, Switzerland, after attending an IOC meeting.

''I am equal like every president of a national federation, every colleague in our athletics family,'' he added. ''For that, I would like to serve athletics. In which position, this will be the decision of my colleagues on the 19th of August.''

In his statement, Coe said he has drawn on his eight years as a vice president, and as organizer of the 2012 London Olympics. He is also head of Britain's national Olympic committee.

''If I am not successful in the IAAF presidential vote in August I know that I will continue to serve athletics through the British Olympic Association and my charitable foundation,'' Coe said. ''However, serving the global athletics family as president of the IAAF would be a huge honor for me and it is something I am working tirelessly to achieve.''

Bubka and Coe are vying to succeed Lamine Diack of Senegal, who is stepping down as IAAF president after serving for 16 years.

''In general, I feel comfortable, I feel good about the campaign,'' Bubka said. ''I'm getting very good feedback on my program and vision of the future for athletics. We are working, but I am satisfied and confident.''

Bubka, who won the Olympic pole vault title in 1988 and set 35 world records, has traveled to all continents to seek support from the IAAF's 213 member federations.

''I don't know how many laps around the world I've done,'' he said.

Bubka took his campaign on Thursday to Baku, Azerbaijan, where he will be attending the opening of the inaugural European Games.

Coe, meanwhile, was in Oslo for the Bislett Games Diamond League meet, where he issued his plans for the first 100 days in office if he is elected president.

Among other things, Coe pledged to establish a group to reform the world calendar, launch a review of IAAF structures and resources, and set up an independent anti-doping agency to deal with doping cases in international athletics.

''I am now more convinced than ever that athletics can reclaim a new and exciting golden era,'' he said in a statement.

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Follow Stephen Wilson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/stevewilsonap

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