By Mike Rowbottom in Daegu

Lamine_Diack_with_Bob_HershSeptember 4 - Bob Hersh of the United States has been nominated today by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Council as the Federation's senior vice-president in succession to Sergey Bubka, taking his place as the President Lamine Diack's official deputy.

Hersh finished top of a topsy-turvy process before the World Championships got underway here to establish the four vice-presidents who will be in place for the next four years.

Bubka, the sitting senior vice-president, finished fifth and last in the initial vote for the four places, but a re-vote was called due to reported technical problems with the electronic voting system.

By the time the process had been laboriously completed, Bubka had one of the four spots, albeit with the lowest vote from the 199 countries, and Canada's Abby Hoffman, who had appeared to be the first female IAAF vice-president as one of the top two candidates – polling 175 votes along with Qatar's Dahlan Jumman Al-Hamad - had dropped out in fifth place after her vote fell to 122.

Hersh, who originally polled 171 votes, and the London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe, who received 167, retained their places.

Hersh, 71, a Harvard Law School graduate, has been a member of the IAAF Council since 1999.

An IAAF release explained the process thus: "The Council in accordance with article 6.9 of the Constitution, had to nominate one of the vice-presidents as senior vice-president for the purpose of presiding over the Council in the absence of the President.

"In this respect Robert Hersh (USA), who polled most votes of the four Vice-Presidents who were elected at Congress, gained the support of Council and has been appointed as senior vice-president."

Diack has promised that this current four-year term will be his last and that he will step down at the next IAAF election in Beijing in 2015. 

Hersh's elevation will be seen as good news for Coe, the double Olympic 1500 metres gold medallist, who has ambitions to succeed Diack.

The battle is expected to be between him and Bubka, the 1988 Olympic pole vault champion and world record holder, with Hersh, it is believed, not having any great plans to mount a campaign to take over from Diack.

It had been widely assumed that if Bubka had continued in his role as senior vice-president then it would have put him in pole position for when Diack retires.

But, following the events here, it is now seen to be an open race with Coe having a great opportunity to stake his claim by putting on a successful Olympics next year.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
August 2011: Election re-run sees Bubka and Coe keep places as IAAF vice-presidents
August 2011: Re-vote ordered after Bubka fails to get IAAF vice-president role