Former fencing champion becomes Romania’s Olympic head

Bucharest, Nov 16 (IANS) Former Olympic fencing champion Mihai Covaliu has been elected the new chairman of the Romanian Olympic and Sports Committee (COSR).

“I am aware that this feature is a huge responsibility,” he said after his election on Tuesday, expressing the wish that all the members of COSR, of federations as well as coaches and athletes, would join him in the common efforts for the recovery of Romanian sport so that it would return to the ranks of the world’s elite, reports Xinhua.

Covaliu was elected with 128 votes at the COSR’ s general meeting, while his competitor Gabriela Szabo, a runner with gold medals in Olympics and World Championships, received 68 votes.

Covaliu, 39, is Olympic champion in 2000 and world champion in 2005, and coach of the Romanian men’s sabre team. He is also president of the Romanian Fencing Federation. He holds a masters’ degree in sport management.

His predecessor Alin Petrache tendered his resignation on August 29 over the country’ s poor performance in the Rio Olympic Games.

Romania’s performance at Rio 2016 was its poorest after WWII, with only a gold, a silver and three bronzes, and with the country finishing in the 47th position in the medal count.

Romania’s Olympic performance peaked at the Los Angeles Games in 1984, when it finished second in the nation ranking, followed by the 5th spot in 1976 in Montreal and 6th in Moscow in 1980. Yet, the country has been spiralling downhill from position 14 in Athens to spot 17 in Beijing and then 27 in London.

–IANS

ajb/bg

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