Sergey Bubka took over as interim president of the International Masters Games Association (IMGA) following Kai Holm’s decision to step down after 26 years in the post.
The IMGA hosts the World Masters Games, an event that takes place every four years and is open to athletes of all levels over the age of 35.
The last event in Auckland, in 2017, saw more than 28,000 competitors from over 100 countries compete in 28 sports, making it the largest multi-sport Games in history.
Holm has led IMGA since its inception in 1995, but has now stepped down, it said in a statement, “to support the modernization process … at a time when the organization is going through an organizational transition.”
Holm, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) between 2002 and 2008 and former president of the National Olympic Committee and the Danish Sports Confederation, announced last year that he would leave the IMGA after Kansai in Japan organized this year’s World Masters. Games.
The event was subsequently postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is now expected to take place next year.
“I have had the privilege of watching IMGA grow and become a very valuable partner for all of our host cities around the world,” said Holm.
“My wish is that we can continue to develop the masters movement with our partners, as host cities and member federations, to encourage people of all ages, all over the world to be active.”
Bubka, Olympic pole vault champion in 1988 and holder of several world records, is an IOC member and senior vice president of World Athletics.
The Ukrainian was vice-president of IMGA,
Bubka, 57, was supported by Holm to move the organization forward.
“He is the right person to keep the IMGA relationship in order and to continue the excellent cooperation between the IOC and the IMGA,” said Holm.