Ex-Sports Minister Arbib joins Australian Olympic Committee

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SYDNEY (AP) Former federal sports minister Mark Arbib has been selected over three female candidates to join the executive of the Australian Olympic Committee, filling a vacancy created by the retirement last month of vice-president Peter Montgomery.

The selection of Arbib, the president of Athletics Australia, was announced Thursday. Other candidates included three-time Olympic gold medalist and ex-Australian field hockey captain Rechelle Hawkes, two-time Olympic equestrian gold medalist Gillian Rolton, and Cheryl Bart, a company director, lawyer and a board member of Australia's football federation.

John Coates, president of the AOC and a vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, said Arbib brought valuable experience.

''I welcome Mark as president of the Australian national federation of athletics - the sport at the core of the Olympic Games, including with most events and athletes,'' Coates said in a statement. ''He knows us as a former Minister for Sport and will be a great help in Canberra.

''Importantly he understands the needs of athletes at both the elite and grassroots levels of sport.''