By Tom Degun

Sergey Bubka_19-10-11October 22 - Ukrainian pole vault legend Sergey Bubka, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) vice-president, has predicted that his country will host the World Athletics Championships "within the next few years" following major investment in sports facilities in the Eastern European country.


The nation is set to host the 2012 UEFA European Football Championships - together with Poland - with the final to be played at the Olympic National Sports Complex in the country's capital Kiev.

The stadium was officially opened earlier this month after a comprehensive period of modernisation and will be adapted for track and field competition events soon after following the event.

Bubka, who is also an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member and President of the Ukraine National Olympic Committee, believes that the former Soviet state will provide a compelling case to host major athletics events following the 2012 Championships.

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"On behalf of Ukrainian athletes I would like to praise everyone involved in ensuring that there was track and field infrastructure when the Olympic Stadium (pictured) was rebuilt," said Bubka.

"The Ukrainian Government is really keen to increase the popularity of athletics and building modern athletics facilities.

"Six months after the Euro 2012 final, the venue will be ready to host the world-class athletics competitions.

"Hosting elite world or European class athletics championships in Kiev will give a huge boost to the development of our sport across the country.

"The brand new venue for athletics will be one of the best in Eastern Europe and underlines Ukraine's intention to bid to host the SPAR European Team Championships, the EAA European Athletics Championships and the IAAF World Athletics Championships within the next few years.

"These plans will be confirmed at the end of the Euro 2012.

"Ukraine already has experience of hosting athletics events.

"For more than 20 years Donetsk has hosted the elite 'Pole Vault Stars' tournament and a number of European Combined Events, throwing events and International meetings have been held in Kiev, Sumy and Yalta.

"The IAAF World Youth Championships, which Donetsk will host, in 2013 will give us a superb opportunity to host major IAAF championships.

"Kiev would also be interesting choice for the IAAF strategy of expanding athletics borders, particularly bearing in mind the fact that the city last hosted a major international athletics competition more than 40 years ago."

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Bubka was replaced by American Bob Hersh as IAAF senior vice-president earlier this year but held on to one of the four vice-president spots in a controversial election process that saw the electronic vote carried out twice due to technical problems in Daegu this August.

But despite losing the senior role, Bubka remains one of the most likely candidates to succeed the current IAAF President Lamine Diack (pictured left) when he steps down alongside London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe, who is also a current IAAF vice president.

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