By Duncan Mackay

Valery Rukhledev profileJuly 25 - Russia's Valery Rukhledev has been elected as the new President of the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) at the election in Sofia today, defeating Britain's Craig Crowley, who had held the post since 2009.

Rukhledev polled 39 votes to Crowley's 33 to become the ninth leader of the ICSD, which organises the Deaflympics, since its formation in 1924. 

At the last election, in Tapei, four years ago Crowley had narrowly beaten Rukhledev.

It was the third time that Rukhledev had stood to lead the ICSD, having also lost at the 2005 election in Melbourne when he was beaten by America's Donalda Kay Ammons.

Rukhledev is one of the best known names in the history of Deaflympics, who in 2001 was voted by the ICDS as one of the of the world's top ten greatest deaf athletes of the
20th century having won six gold medals at theGames between 1969 and 1977 in Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling.

Rukhledev had founded the Russian Deaf Sports Union in 1993 following the break-up of the Soviet Union and is a former President of the National Deaf Association of Russia.

He is also a member of Russian President Vladimir Putin's Council on Disabled People.

Rukhledev's latest campaign had received strong backing from Vitaly Mutko, Russia's Sports Minister, who had described him as a "skilled politician and organiser".

"Becoming ICSD President is the greatest achievement of my lifetime in sport," Rukhledev told insidethegames.

"I am proud of having made Russia the strongest team in deaf sport, with the most Government support.

"I look forward to delivering great opportunities for a bright for all deaf athletes around the world."

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