By Duncan Mackay in Daegu

Essar_Gabriel_in_front_of_Olympic_ringsAugust 23 - Essar Gabriel is to take over as the new general secretary of the International Associationof Athletics Federations (IAAF), it has been announced here.

The Frenchman is to succeed compatriot Pierre Weiss, who is retiring after 20 years working for the world athletics governing body.

Gabriel, 43, was director general of the Organising Committee for the succesful 2003 World Championships in·Paris and recently held the post of Director of the Youth Olympic Games for theInternational Olympic Committee (IOC), overseeing last year's successful first event in Singapore. 

He was also the chief operating officer of Paris' unsuccessful bid to host the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, which were awarded to London.

Weiss, 64, announced his decision to step down several months ago after taking over the post in 2006 following the death of Hungary's Istvan Gyulai.

Before succeeding Gyulai, Weiss had been ssistant to the general secretary from 1985 until 1987 and general director from 1991 until 2006.

Gabriel has been chosen to succed Weiss by IAAF President Lamine Diack, whose choice has been endosrsed by the ruling Council, who are meeting on the eve of the World Championships which open on Saturday (August 27).

"With a wealth of experience working in the administration of international sporting bodies, I am convinced that he will be capable of bringing us an outside perspective that will enable us to uncompromisingly assess in those areas that we need to improve as we move forwards," said Diack.

Diack also praised the contribution of Weiss.

"He has made an extraordinary contribution to our organisation, sacrificing his time, his leisure, home life and health to do so," said Diack.

"He has decided to claim his right to retirement after devoting the majority of his life to athletics. In carrying out his work, he showed such exemplary dedication, commitment, energy and all-around capability that it is impossible to stand in his shoes."

At the same meeting Britain's Nick Davies was confirmed as deputy general secretary.

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