By Duncan Mackay

Lamine_Diack_March_2011May 28 - Lamine Diack is set to extend his 12 year reign as President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) by being re-elected unopposed at the sport's Congress later this year after no-one else put themselves forward to challenge him, it has been announced.

IAAF vice-presidents Sebastian Coe, the former double Olympic 1500 metres champion who is now the chairman of London 2012, and Sergey Bubka, the world record holder for the pole vault, had both been mentioned as possible candidates but each decided not to stand.

Diack had succeeded Primo Nebiolo in 1999 after the sudden death of the Italian. 

The Senegalese, who will turn 78 next month, had said when he had been re-elected for another four-year term at Osaka in 2007 that he would not stand again but has since changed his mind and claimed that he has been reinvigorated by the prospect of overseeing the sport up until London 2012 and beyond. 

"I am in very good health, and have even started doing daily exercise again," he exclusively told insidethegames.

"I am very enthusiastic and optimistic about the sport, and really want to complete my mission during my last mandate as head of the IAAF. "

Diack, who started his sports career as general secretary of the Senegalese Athletic Federation and is also a former team manager of his country's national football team, was behind the introduction of the Samsung Diamond League, a series of elite meetings across the world with a multi-million dollar prize fund. 

The launch of the competiton has coincided with the rise of Usain Bolt as a true global superstar and his presence helped attract a crowd of more than 47,000 to the Olympic Stadium in Rome on Thursday (May 26), the biggest attendance at Italy's flagship meeting for several years.

On August 24, the same day as Diack will be officially re-elected at the IAAF Congress in Daegu, there will also be elections for the IAAF Council, which Coe and Bubka will both be contesting.

The candidate who gains the most votes is set to be installed as the senior vice-president, putting them in prime position to take over when Diack steps down in four years time.

"I am sure that after the Congress in Daegu we will elect a very experienced and competent team, and I especially look forward to working hard with them in the interests of athletics," Diack told insidethegames.

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