By Duncan Mackay at the Lenexpo Exhibition Complex in St Petersburg

Sergey Bubka head and shouldersMay 28 - Sergey Bubka today announced that he is entering the race to become the new President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

The Ukrainian, the 1988 Olympic pole vault champion, confirmed his decision here this afternoon, where he is attending the SportAccord International Convention.

Bubka joins Germany's Thomas Bach, Singapore's Ng Ser Miang, Taiwan's C K Wu, Puerto Rica's Richard Carrion and Switzerland's Denis Oswald in a six-way race to suceed Jacques Rogge, who is due to step down as IOC President after 12 years in Buenos Aires on September 10.

He claimed that he chose to announce his decision in the Russian city because it where he considered his international career was launched.

"I started my international sports life here in St Petersburg, when I qualified for the Helsinki World Championships in 1983 and so it is apt that it is here I wish to announce my candidancy for the Presidency of the IOC," said Bubka.

He told Rogge officially yesterday that he planned to stand and informed the IOC members this morning.

At 49, Bubka will be the youngest contender in the field and also has the most pedigree when it comes to their sporting career.

Sergey Bubka Helsinkin 1983Sergey Bubka, in the colours of the Soviet Union, wins the World Championships at Helsink in 1983 - the first of a record six consecutive titles in the event

As well as his Olympic gold medal, he also won a record six world titles - the first of which came at Helsinki in 1983 - and set a total of 35 world records.

His outdoor mark of 6.14 metres has stood since 1994 and his indoor performance of 6.15m since 1993, having never been approached.

Since retiring Bubka has carved out a successful career in sports administration.

He was elected as a member of the IOC Athletes' Commission in 2000 and served as a member of the ruling Executive Board until 2008, when his term officially ended and was elected as an individual member. 

He was re-elected to the Executive Board last year.

"As an athlete I was fortunate to have the right team around me, as coaches, as advisors, as friends," said Bubka, who is also President of the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine.

"And this is my principle of life: even as an athlete doing doing an individual sport, you cannot succeed alone.

"Only together, we are strong.

"Only together, we will be able to address the challenges that lie ahead of us.

"I believe that membership of the IOC brings with it obligations: to serve the world of sport; to preserve and evolve the great virtues on which Olympism stands; to listen and learn; and to  react to the changing times to ensure that the Olympic values continue to reach and inspire a global population."

Bubka also backed Rogge's controversial proposal that the next IOC President should be paid a salary but promised that he would donate it to charity. 

Sergey Bubka with Thomas BachSergey Bubka (left) chats with Germany's Thomas Bach (right), one of his biggest rivals for the IOC Presidency

Bubka has also been a vice-president of the International Association of Athletics Federations since 2007.

He and Sebastian Coe, the chairman of London 2012 and the British Olympic Association, have long been considered the main contenders to succeed IAAF President Lamine Diack in 2015.

But Bubka promised that, for the moment at least, he was focussed solely on the IOC Presidency.

"I understand this is a big task, a big responsibility," he said.

"I will work 24-hours a day for a successful Olympic Movement."

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