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Thomas Bach,President of the International Olympic Committees (IOC) (L) and Intendant General Lassana Palenfo, President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) (R) smiles during meeting of the African National Olympic Committees on November 6, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo by Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images)

DJIBOUTI, May 2, 2017 - The presidency of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa is up for grabs but the position can only be occupied by one the two top contenders from May 10 at the end of the elective congress.


The elections are scheduled to hold in Djibouti during the17th Ordinary General Assembly from May 9 to May 11.


It is an elective session, during which all 54 NOCs of the Continent will elect the leaders of the supreme governing body of the African Olympic Movement for the 2017-2020 quadrennial.


The two hot contenders are the incumbent, Ivorian Lassana Palenfo and Cameroonian Hamad Kalkaba Malboum.


Both are not new as they have travelled through the route twice previously in 2005 in Abuja and Cote d’Ivoire in 2009.


On both occasions, Palenfo had always prevailed and the third meeting can be anybody’s game depending on how the member nations of the 54 countries that make of the Olympic family in Africa decide the vote.


The two gladiators have some things in common – they have military background and both are grounded in sports and local and continental levels.


While Palenfo is current ANOCA president, he holds the presidency of the the Ivorian Olympic Committee as well as the continental leadership of the Africa Judo Federation.


Kalkaba on the other hand is current president of the Africa Athletic Confederation (AAC) and current president of the Cameroon Olympic Committee.


The two candidates are presented here:


Intendant General Palenfo




Lassana Palenfo, born on January 25, 1941 in Ivory Coast was an Ivorian military general.


He has actually different functions in several international sports organisations.


He is the President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa since 2005, member of the International Olympic Committee since 2000, President, National Olympic Committee of Cote d’Ivoire since 1999.


President African Judo Union since 1990, vice-president of the International Judo Federation since 1990.


He has been awarded the Olympic Order in Silver in 2012.


Palenfo practiced multiple sports — swimming, judo (black belt, 4th dan) and football (schools championships).


In July 2013, during the elective General Assembly of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa, he was re-elected for a 3rd mandate in a row as the ANOCA.


Palenfo graduated from several schools in Paris, including the National College of Financial Administration, the Paris Institute of Administration and Management and the Paris School of Social Sciences.


He later followed up with a military course in the Inter-Armies military schools of Coëtquidan and Saint Maixent and after these studies, Palenfo started two different careers: a military one and sporting administration one.


Sports administration career


Member of the Cote I’ Ivoire Judo and Assimilated Disciplines Federation (in 1966) then President (from 1972 to 1991)


He was a member of the SOA (judo, boxing and football) (from 1966 to 1983), Vice-President (from 1974 to 1978) and Treasurer (from 1982 to 1990) then President (since 1990) of the African Judo Union.


Palenfo is currently Vice-President, International Judo Federation (IJF) – (since 1990), Vice-President (from 1990 to 1999) then President (since 1999) of the National Olympic Committee of Cote d’Ivoire; President of the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa Development and Games Commission (since 2002)


Member of the International Olympic Committee from 2000 to 2012; Honorary Member of the International Olympic Committee since 2012


Member of the following Commissions: Women and Sport (since 2002), Olympic Solidarity (since 2006) and International Relations (since 2008)


Hamad Kalkaba Malboum


Hamad Kalkaba Malboum was born Nov. 11 1950. He is a Cameroonian athletics official, who is the current President of the Africa Athletics Confederation (AAC).


Malboum has been at the helm since 2003, when he replaced Lamine Diack who became President of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF).


He was born in Kawadji near Kousseri, a town in Cameroon bordering the Republic of Chad. He started his primary education in Kousseri.


After four years in Maroua, he graduated and started high school in Garoua.


He was drafted to join the army in 1969. In 1972, he graduated from the military school in Yaoundé in 1972 and became an officer.


He attended police school from 1972 to 1973, and officer’s school from 1987 to 1988.


Throughout his education he was interested in sports and music, and played handball and athletics.


He finished his army service as a senior army officer, but remained involved in the armed forces as a sports official.


Sports career

From 1970 to 1974 he was a member of Cameroon’s 4 × 100 metres relay team and also competed in the 100 metres, 200 metres and long jump.


He was highly influential in developing national sports federations in Cameroon, founding the country’s baseball and softball federations in 1992 and leading the handball and athletics bodies.


From 1976–1983, he was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Sports Office and headed the International Military Sports Council (CISM) from 2010 to 2014.


He also served from 1996 to the present as founder and organiser of the “Espoir’’ Race (ascension of Mont Cameroon).


From 2001 to the present he has been head of the National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSC) and from 2003 to the present, head of the AAC.


Following the exit of Senegal’s Lamine Diack as IAAF president, Malboum became the most influential athletic administrator in Africa.


Though Africa did not present a candidate to replace Diack, the continent remained an important element to the sport’s governance given the success of its athletes. 


Colombia's John Murillo competes in the Men's Triple Jump Qualifying Round as part of the athletics competition at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on August 15, 2016. (Photo credit: ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images)

by Alejandro Munévar, AIPS Young Reporter, Colombia


DOHA, May 2, 2017 - He might be one of the top three South American triple jumpers and finished fifth at the Rio Olympics, but John Murillo wants more. The Colombian is about to turn 33, and even if he is not as young as he wants, he is not old enough to think about retirement, either. Actually, he says he will compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, despite he will be 37.


Born in Apartado, one of the smallest and most violent towns in Colombia, Murillo recalls his early years using a local expression, color de hormiga (ant’s colour), reserved for something that is really hard. “We are a big family and as you can imagine I didn’t live in a big house. I don't mean now it is easy, but in that time my mother said it was ‘color de hormiga’,” he said to AIPS, while waiting for his manager to confirm his flight gate to travel to Madrid. He will compete at the Diamond League in Doha, and he has been invited to 3 of 5 competitions. That’s his job now, but it was not always the case.


Murillo started working at a very young age, selling fruit at local markets, among other informal jobs: “The fact that I was kid didn't matter, we had debts and they were growing as quickly, just as I did." he admits. "By the time I was in my last year of school, I was doing hammer throw, but I thought about becoming a policeman, because we needed money." But a teacher at his school didn't let him quit sport. By the time, long and triple jump were not in his sights.


John grew up with Caterine Ibarguen, a gold medalist at the Rio Olympics. “Catherine made better use of the opportunities she had, not like me. My marks never arrived to my country’s top 10 and I spent too much time in that. I didn't want to listen to anyone. Until someone opened my eyes and I tried with triple and long jump”, he says.


It was a good decision. Since then, Murillo has managed to train and become one of the world’s best. It took a bit more than he wanted, but as he reflects, better late than never.


In 2006, during the South American Championship, his first participation in triple jump, he leapt to 16.33 meters. Since then he has improved his personal best to 17.09 meters and he thinks he can improve even more this year. In the meantime, he has re-written Colombian Athletics’ history. He was the first male athlete in the country to obtain an Olympic Diploma. “Probably for countries with more history in athletics it is nothing, but for us it is a sign of hard work, although lacking support, sometimes”, he reckons.


Murillo will be participating for the second consecutive year in the Diamond League. And as he puts it, “I am a late bloomer, but the important thing is that I did it and the effort is being rewarded”.

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