Olympics

El Moutawakel rules out IOC presidential bid

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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP)

Former Olympic hurdles champion Nawal El Moutawakel says the time is not right to make a run for the IOC presidency.

The Moroccan told The Associated Press on Thursday she considered entering the race but has decided not to be a candidate.

''I am honored that certain IOC members and the media thought I could possess the qualities for this position,'' El Moutawakel said in a statement to the AP. ''After careful reflection, I believe that the moment is not opportune for me.''

El Moutawakel had been considered a potential contender in the race to succeed Jacques Rogge, who steps down in September after 12 years as president of the International Olympic Committee.

El Moutawakel is an IOC vice president, the highest ranking woman on the committee. She heads the coordination commission for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

''For the time being, I am pleased to carry out my IOC responsibilities and I hope to devote myself completely to widening my experience in the Olympic movement,'' El Moutawakel said. ''I will be at the service of the next IOC president in his heavy responsibilities.''

Six candidates have declared for the presidency: IOC vice presidents Thomas Bach of Germany and Ng Ser Miang of Singapore, finance commission chairman Richard Carrion of Puerto Rico, amateur boxing association chief C.K. Wu of Taiwan, rowing federation head Denis Oswald of Switzerland; and pole vault great Sergei Bubka of Ukraine.

The deadline for declarations is June 6 and no other candidates are expected. The election will be held Sept. 10 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

El Moutawakel was the first woman from a predominantly Muslim nation to win an Olympic medal when she took gold in the 400-meter hurdles at the 1984 Los Angeles Games. In 2008, she was the first woman from a Muslim nation voted onto the IOC executive board, and she was elevated to the vice presidency last year.

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