Italy's Luciano Rossi, second left, has defeated Russian oligarch Vladimir Lisin to be elected as the new President of the ISSF ©ITG

Italy's Luciano Rossi has defeated Russian oligarch Vladimir Lisin by 136 votes to 127 to be elected as the new President of the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF).

The 69-year-old Rossi, beaten by billionaire Lisin four years ago, polled 51.71 per cent of the vote at Egyptian resort Sharm El-Sheikh.

It followed a bitter election campaign overshadowed by allegations that Lisin's company Novolipetsk has been linked with providing steel for the Russian military, including its nuclear weapons programme, which he had denied. 

Lisin, reportedly worth $25.4 billion (£21.2 billion/€24.6 billion), had refused to step down from his role leading the ISSF, despite calls from some countries for him to consider his position following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February and his alleged close links to President Vladimir Putin. 

"I am naturally delighted with this result," Rossi said.

"Certainly with this result today my determination and passion for the sport of shooting is rewarded.

"I thank everyone, in particular my family and those who enthusiastically voted for me.

"But I also thank those who did not vote for me because I truly intend to be everyone's President for the relaunch of our sport and for the democratic management of the International Federation. 

"I promise to continue with even more energetic commitment the work for the development of shooting for a better future of that sporting activity which is my life and which I love most."

Luciano Rossi, left, has promised that he will be a President
Luciano Rossi, left, has promised that he will be a President "for everyone" after defeating Russian Vladimir Lisin 136 votes to 127 ©ITG

The 66-year-old Lisin left the room immediately after the vote was announced.

It left ISSF secretary general Alexander Ratner, who had last week written a controversial letter backing his fellow Russian Lisin and attacking Rossi's campaign, in the awkward position of briefly sitting next to the new President on the top table. 

"In all the minutes of the Executive Committee meetings during those 20 years there is no single mentioning of any ideas or innovation presented by him [Rossi], no proposals on optimisation of the competitions' programme or modification of events," Ratner had written in his open letter sent to the ISSF Member Federations.

But, following the lunch break, Ratner failed to re-appear to conduct the rest of the elections.

Germany's Willi Grill, a member of the ISSF Technical Commission and a leading member of Rossi's bid campaign, is expected to be appointed to replace him pending the ratification of the Executive Committee at a meeting tomorrow.

The German Shooting Federation (DSB) welcomed the defeat of Lisin.

"[The] DSB feels encouraged in its consistent stance towards Russian ISSF leadership and support from ISSF President Rossi," it said in a message on social media.

Following the result, Ukrainian Shooting Federation President Oleg Volkov, who had campaigned for Lisin to be barred from standing, said simply: "I am very happy."

Vladimir Lisin left the room after being defeated by Luciano Rossi in the ISSF election for President ©ISSF
Vladimir Lisin left the room after being defeated by Luciano Rossi in the ISSF election for President ©ISSF

Following the defeat of Lisin and the decision by another oligarch, Alisher Usmanov, to temporarily leave his role at the International Fencing Federation after he was sanctioned by the European Union in March, it means no Olympic International Federation is led by a Russian.

Umar Kremlev continues to be President of the International Boxing Association, but that is not currently recognised by the International Olympic Committee.

There were also three new vice-presidents chosen with Raninder Singh, President of the National Rifle Association of India, losing his seat.

But Kimberly Rhode, the United States' three-time Olympic gold medallist and chair of the ISSF Athletes Committee, was elected for one of the four positions.

China's double Olympic gold medallist Yifu Wang retained his position and was joined by Catherine Fettell and John Hansen, Presidents of the Australian and Danish Shooting Federations, respectively.

The five remaining positions on the ISSF Executive Committee saw South Korea's Daigon Lee re-elected and he was joined by Britain's former world champion Elena Allen, Peru's Olympic silver medallist Francisco Boza, Turkey's Melis Giraud and Japan Rifle Shooting Sport Federation President Kiichiro Matsumaru.

Many of those who failed to gain re-election or were unsuccessful, were seen as supporters of Lisin.

Luciano Rossi is congratulated by supporters after being elected as the new ISSF President ©ITG
Luciano Rossi is congratulated by supporters after being elected as the new ISSF President ©ITG

Rossi is only the eighth President of the ISSF in its 115-year history. 

Daniel Mérillon, a 55-year old lawyer from Paris, was elected as the first ISSF President at the founding of the governing body in 1907.

He served until his death in 1927, when he was replaced by his son-in-law Jean Carnot.

Erik Carlsson, President of the Swedish Shooting Federation, was elected as the third ISSF President in 1947.

It was a post he held until 1960 when he retired and was replaced by Kurt Hasler, President of the Swiss Shooting Federation.

Hasler, after serving the ISSF for 16 years, decided not to stand for re-election in 1976 and George Vichos, a lawyer from Athens, won an election decided by just one vote.

But he served only one term and was replaced in 1980 by Mexican tycoon Olegario Vazquez Raña, who held the position until he stepped down after 38 years in 2018. 

He was replaced by Lisin at an election in Munich in 2018, when he defeated Rossi by only four votes.