Yelena Isinbayeva

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 19 (IANS) Russia’s Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva has pledged to defend athletes’ rights in her capacity as member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Athletes’ Commission.

“I would like to thank Alexander Zhukov (Russian Olympic Committee President) and his staff who helped me with my campaign. Naturally, I will work for the sake of the Olympic Movement and I will certainly defend athletes’ rights in the first place,” Isinbayeva told journalists after her election to the commission on Thursday.

“Today, it is vitally important for athletes’ voices to be heard. I am pleased to act as a kind of bridge between Russia and the IOC. I am so happy that it makes me utterly mad.”

All the athletes who are competing in the Rio Olympic Games took part in the election of four new members of the IOC Athletes’ Commission. Twenty-three candidates ran for the four vacant positions. Isinbayeva gained 1,365 votes.

The other three newly-elected members are German fencer Britta Heidemann (1,603), South Korean table tennis player Ryu Seung-min (1,544), and Hungarian swimmer Daniel Gyurta (1,469).

The mandate of four-time Olympic swimming champion Alexander Popov who has represented Russia at the IOC Athletes’ Commission is expiring on August 21.

Isinbayeva, 34, the holder of 28 world records, will speak at a news conference to mark the end of her sporting career here on Saturday.

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