Sergey Bubka has pledged to work alongside the Pan American Games governing bodies to deliver an increased track and field quota at continental and regional multi-sport events should he be elected International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President in August.
The Ukrainian’s pledge follows the conclusion of Toronto 2015, which began with widespread confusion over athletics quota places when more than 900 athletes thought they had qualified, despite only 680 places being available.
Eventually, 41 additional athletes were added meaning that 711 were able to compete at the Games.
Bubka, however, believes athletics can play a larger role in future editions of the Games.
“The quota of athletics at the Pan Am Games is close to 10 per cent of all athletes – only 10 per cent – compared to about 20 per cent at Olympic Games,” the IAAF vice-president and International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board member said.
“If elected as the IAAF president, I will enhance cooperation with Dr. Julio Maglione, Pan American Sport Organization (PASO) President, and his colleagues to discuss possibilities to increase athletics quota at Pan American Games.
“We will work together with National Federations in order to bring athletics to top positions at all continental and regional multi-sport events.”
Bubka, bidding to succeed Senegal's Lamine Diack as the IAAF President, also reflected on the standard of athletics competition at the event, which saw 12 Pan American Games records broken and several young rising stars deliver world class performances.
Among those was 20-year-old Canadian Andre De Grasse, winner of the men’s sprint double, while American world junior champions Kaylin Whitney and Kendall Baisden became Pan American Games champions in the women’s 200 and 400m respectively.
“The importance of the Pan-American Games and other continental multi-sport events cannot be overestimated,” Bubka said.
“They provide great opportunities for athletes to raise their level of competition and achieve personal best standards.
“While some will go on to world-class events, there are many for whom Continental Games are the highlight of their careers, providing memories which will last a lifetime and inspiring young people from their countries to follow in their footsteps.”
The Olympic pole vault champion’s latest pledge comes with less than a month to go until the election for the IAAF Presidency, where he faces competition from Britain’s Sebastian Coe, with the vote set to be held on August 19 in Beijing, ahead of the World Championships.
Bubka also outlined his intention to increase the IAAF’s efforts to develop athletics competitions global events such as the World University Games, World Gymnasiades, Masters World Championships, in a bid to increase participation among all ages and particularly with young people.
“Athletics, the Olympic number one sport, should be represented at every international competition level and at every age group," he said.
“The more competitions we have, the more athletes, including young athletes, receive opportunities to win medals for their countries, universities, schools, clubs.
“The mission of the IAAF is to help to provide the opportunities, we must cooperate more effectively with the event’s governing bodies in order to promote athletics and involve more youth in the sport."
July 2015: Extra 31 athletics spots approved following "unacceptable" confusion over Toronto 2015 quota places