Norwegian carries on in key role for a further four years as Cherry Alexander is elected vice president

Svein Arne Hansen has been re-elected unopposed as president of European Athletics, while Cherry Alexander became the body’s first female vice-president of the body for years at elections in Prague on Saturday.

Hansen succeeded Hansjorg Wirz in 2015 and the Norwegian now has another four years at the helm after 50 member federations at the European Athletics congress in the Czech Republic capital gave him their nod of approval.

Welcoming the start of Hansen’s second term as president, the IAAF president Seb Coe told the congress: “You have made the reforms that we have made to our sport in recent years come to life. I have particular gratitude to the man you elected four years ago as your president. He has been a strong and steady compass.”

Britain’s Alexander was one of three vice presidents elected, the others being Dobromir Karamarinov of Bulgaria and Libor Varhanik of the Czech Republic.

To ensure gender balance, for the first time ever there was a requirement of at least one man and woman to be elected as a vice president.

“Running for election for one of the top positions in the sport in Europe has been a lifetime ambition and I’m honoured to have been elected,” Alexander told British Athletics.

“As a federation we have reflected and learned more about what makes a good member within the family and my style has always been one of engagement and listening. I’m proud to represent UK Athletics and look forward to putting all views across.

“As a female in the sport in the early days I recall how challenging it is to have your voice heard and I know how it feels similar for smaller federations who need to be heard too.”

Alexander has been widely reported as the first woman to hold the role at European Athletics, although Erika Strasser, an Austrian javelin thrower in the 1960s, was the first female vice president from 1991-95.

A total of 13 council members, including four women, were also elected: Slobodan Brankovic (SRB), Nadya But-Husaim (BLR), Raul Chapado (ESP), Fatih Cintimar (TUR), Jean Gracia (FRA), Karin Grute Movin (SWE), Marton Gyulai (HUN), Frank Hensel, (GER), Anna Kirnova (SVK), Dimakos Panagiotis (GRE), Antti Pihlakoski (FIN), Sonja Spendelhofer (AUT) and Erich Teigamägi (EST).

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