World Athletics Council and IOC Executive Board member Nawal El Moutawakel of Morocco declared "the future belongs to women" ©Getty Images

World Athletics Council member Nawal El Moutawakel has claimed here that Budapest will be remembered for having pushed "the door wide open for women".

El Moutawakel and Canada's Abby Hoffman were the first women ever elected to the Council in 1995, and the governing body achieved gender equity four years ahead of its 2027 target following elections at the Congress in the Hungarian capital before the World Championships.

Ximena Restrepo, a women's 400 metres Olympic bronze medallist with Colombia who is now a Chilean national, was elected as senior vice-president at the Congress.

Speaking to insidethegames after being honoured at a gathering of champions at the Museum of World Athletics Exhibition, El Moutawakel hailed the Congress as a landmark, and praised President and fellow International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Sebastian Coe for his leadership.

"It was a Congress that will be remembered for a long time," the Los Angeles 1984 women's 400m hurdles champion with Morocco said.

"A Congress which opened the door wide open for women.

"We were hoping to have 50-50 by 2027, and here we are already reaching one of our highest goals to have women belonging to this organisation, born in 1912 exclusively as a men's club with women only allowed to start being part of the Council in 1995.

"To see today that we have 13 ladies is fantastic, and not only that but to see Ximena from Chile being one of the vice-presidents, so I think the future belongs to women and we really want to thank Sebastian Coe to have allowed women to be part of this fantastic and beautiful organisation.

"Touring around this exhibition you can tell how long women have come from back at the beginning of the last century to today, so it is a big applause to all those who all who are involved."

The World Athletics Council through to 2027 is set to feature 13 male and 13 female officials, with the governing body hailing the achievement of gender equity ©World Athletics
The World Athletics Council through to 2027 is set to feature 13 male and 13 female officials, with the governing body hailing the achievement of gender equity ©World Athletics

El Moutawakel was among those re-elected at the Congress, and is also a member of the IOC Executive Board.

Some groups have criticised the perceived lack of independence of the IOC Athletes' Commission from the IOC, but El Moutawakel underlined the importance of ensuring athlete representation in leadership positions,

She claimed progress had been made on that front by the IOC and World Athletics.

"I think we have already had athletes for a few years now thanks to President [Juan Antonio] Samaranch who allowed this dream to become a reality," El Moutawakel said.

"Remember back in the 1980s when Anita DeFranz was among the very first to belong to a Board after being an Olympic champion, and many eyes were [wondering how] because athletes' role was on the track not in the Board as individual members.

"But we have seen today that maybe half of the IOC members are former Olympic champions or former champions in their individual sports.

"To see today even in our Board we have many who have been Olympic champions and world champions, and even in the past with Sebastian Coe as our chairman, Sergey Bubka, Irena Szewińska, Alberto Juantorena, the list is long.

"All these people really want to give back to the sport because they have gained so much experience from the past, and they are the ones who are knowledgeable about many things.

"We are there because we need to serve athletes first, because they are the heart and the soul of our organisation, so if you put them there, they can be added value to any kind of sport."