CLAIRE NASH in LONDON: He is the only candidate going for a knockout by bidding for a single term as president of the International Olympic Committee. But boxing chief Dr Ching-kuo Wu will have to use all of his rings craft to convince IOC members he is the man to replace outgoing Jacques Rogge.
Former architect Wu is an outside bet for the presidency but he believes his record for getting things done in a seven-year stewardship of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) – including tackling corruption in the judging system and securing Olympic status for women’s boxing – anchors a compelling campaign.
“I have no fear that I can face any challenge,” says the Taiwanese contender who shrugged off death threats while introducing boxing reforms.
Wu, on a stopover in London yesterday on his way from the World Athletics Championships in Moscow to the Asian Youth Games in Nanjing, is chasing the top job with five other candidates*.
In line with them he will press on with the fight against doping and corruption and insists he is the man to “clean the house”. But he believes he has already shown himself to be both rigorous and expeditious in his approach to eradicating sleaze.
“Within a single eight-year term I can deliver many things,” he says. “I delivered many things within five years with AIBA – more difficult, more challenging, with threats to my life.
“People were suspended or expelled. When people lose their personal interest they want to threaten you but I have no fear. If the sport cannot keep the transparency you lose credibility. Nobody can trust your sport and there is no development.
“Through my experience I think people regard me as a person of integrity. People follow you, so you have to give a very strong message that you cannot tolerate any corruption or manipulation.
“With a single term I also want to leave the vacancy for the future young generation to come up: 12 years [the maximum presidency term] is a long time – the middle-aged become old, they lose charge.”
Interestingly, Wu wants to change the rule prohibiting IOC members from visiting bid cities, introduced in the aftermath of the Salt Lake City bribery scandal. Many members have complained that the ban impugns their integrity and bid cities have found the ban constraining – and expensive.
Wu believes city visits would help members make a more informed decision, and adds: “If somebody wants to bribe, why should they be waiting until you come to bribe you? They could bribe you at any time.
Bid cost savings
“IOC members should learn from what happened in the past. Nobody wants to repeat what happened in Salt Lake City. I propose that group visits should be organised three to four months prior to the vote and the cost should be covered by the IOC.
“Bidding cities spend a lot of money. I want to stop this, save the money, and the IOC member can make the decision more objectively. It would save everybody time and resources.”
As well as being prudent with both his and other peoples’ money – a surefire vote winner in an era of austerity – 66-year-old billionaire Wu, who was the chief architect of Milton Keynes, is a big fan of recycling Olympic facilities.
On the anniversary of the London 2012 closing ceremony, he hailed Britain’s trailblazing approach. Venues including the basketball arena were packed up and sent on to Rio
“London 2012 was one of the most successful Games in history,” says Wu. “London was the British way. It was well planned and well executed. The biggest cost is the venues, the infrastructure. To reduce the cost is everybody’s concern. I propose that at least 50 per cent of the competition venues be designed as temporary and flexible ones.”
A flexible friend therefore, as well as a dark horse for election day, this Dr Wu.
* Other nominees for the IOC presidency in Buenos Aires on September 10 are Thomas Bach (Germany, IOC vice-president), Sergei Bubka (Ukraine, ex-Olympic pole vault champion), Richard Carrion (Puerto Rico, IOC finance specialist), Ser Miang Ng (Singapore, senior IOC vice-president) and Denis Oswald (Swiss, president of the international rowing federation).
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