FRANKIE FREDERICKS (pictured), one of the greatest sprinters in history and now a senior member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), is to run for the presidency of Athletics Namibia in an effort to help shape the sport in the build-up to London 2012. 


Fredericks, who won four silver medals in the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, confirmed today that he would stand against current president Alpha Kangueehi.


The 41-year-old American-educated Fredericks, where he earned a masters degree in business administration, has forged an increasingly impressive career in sports politics since his retirement from athletics four years ago.


He was a member of the IOC Evaluation Commission for 2012 and now sits on the Co-ordination Commission that is monitoring London's preparations.


Fredericks, the 1993 world 200 metres champion, said he had decided to stand for the top athletics job in his home country after being urged to do so by several supporters.


He said: "Sponsors are no longer willing to come on board and invitations from other countries are drying up.


"We can barely attract 100 spectators to an athletics meet these days and that demonstrates the sorry state of domestic athletics.


"My peers at home and abroad, fellow Namibians as well as those involved in sport, have been urging me to play a part in the development of Athletics Namibia and I can no longer resist these calls and have therefore decided to stand for the presidency of Athletics Namibia.


"My focus will be on increasing the opportunities for Namibian youth who have shown plenty of potential, by using my extensive local and international contacts to mobilise resources."


Fredericks, who is also a member of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Athletes Commission, has a dream of making Namibia, which shares borders with Angola,  Zambia, Botswana and South Africa and has a population of 1.8 million, as successful as some of its African neighbours.


He said: "I cannot remain relevant in the international athletics context should I fail to inspire others at home and create the opportunities for Namibia to establish herself as Kenya has done as a nation."


Namibia made its Olympic debut at the 1992 Olympics, when Fredericks finished second in the both the 100m and 200m.


He repeated that double four years later in Atlanta, when he had the misfortune to finish second behind Canada's Donovan Bailey and the United States Michael Johnson, who both set world records.


Namibia have not won a medal since those 1996 Games.


They sent four athletes to the Beijing Olympics earlier this year but none of them made any impression.


Fredericks warned that the country would have to support his vision if standards are to improve.


He said: "I would need the support of each and everyone to build a sound foundation and return athletics to its former glory days, which will ultimately serve as a unifying factor in post-independent Namibia."


The election is due to take place on November 22.