Debbie Alexander has been appointed first vice-president of World Triathlon ©World Triathlon

World Triathlon has appointed South Africa's Debbie Alexander as the first vice-president of the governing body, meaning the top two positions in triathlon are held by women.

Alexander's appointment comes after consultation with the Executive Board of the organisation, with the decision coming at the first meeting since the election of the newly-formed Board.

Her appointment was approved by all members of the Board, which Alexander herself has served for eight years.

She is also the President of Triathlon South Africa, vice-president of Triathlon Africa and a member of the International Paralympic Committee Governing Board.

Alexander's appointment means that the two top positions within the organisation have been filled by women following the re-election of World Triathlon President Marisol Casado last month.

Marisol Casado has been President of World Triathlon since 2008 ©World Triathlon
Marisol Casado has been President of World Triathlon since 2008 ©World Triathlon

Casado faced a leadership contest from Mads Freund of Denmark for the Presidency but the Spanish International Olympic Committee (IOC) member remained in the position she has held since 2008.

The build-up to the election saw the IOC Executive Board reject a complaint against Casado.

She will be able to serve as World Triathlon President until 2028 after a 12-year term limit was introduced in 2016. 

The Spaniard is now starting her fourth term as President, however, 12 years on from when she first landed the job.

Casado was the only female President of an Olympic summer sport, before last week's appointment of Annika Sorenstam as the President of the International Golf Federation.

Kate Caithness, President of the World Curling Federation, is the only female President of an Olympic winter sport.

Casado has also appointed Japan's Shin Otsuka as the financial and marketing vice-president of World Triathlon, again with the full support of the Board.

He has been a member of the World Triathlon Executive Board since 2004 and was elected as vice-president in November with the highest number of votes.

Mexico's Antonio Alvarez and Britain's Ian Howard are the other vice-presidents on the Board, and also have terms until 2024.