January 13 - Singapore's Ng Ser Miang has welcomed the growing interest in the race to replace Jacque Rogge as International Olympic Committee (IOC) President because he says the election will be a "crucial decision" for the Olympic Movement.
The 63-year-old former sailor, who is currently one of the four IOC vice-presidents, is considered one of the leading contenders to take over from the Belgian when his 12-year reign ends at the 125th Session in Buenos Aires in September 2013.
No IOC members have yet to officially declare their candidacy and will not have to do so until June this year, when they will then become bound by the stringent ethical codes governing IOC election campaigning.
But Ng has given his clearest indication yet that he is looking to replace Rogge in one of the most powerful positions in sport.
"It is good that there is interest, especially among the IOC members, because this is a crucial decision for the Olympic Movement," said Ng.
"With the current President stepping down in about nine months' time, it is natural that there would be stronger interest and greater attention on his succession."
Ng has a particularly strong powerbase amongst the Asian IOC membership and his stock rose significantly after he ran the hugely successful inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in 2010 as President of the Organising Committee.
The leading contender at present is seen to be Germany's highly respected IOC vice-president Thomas Bach, who has been installed by British bookmakers Ladbrokes as the even-money favourite.
Puerto Rico's Richard Carrion, who chairs the IOC's Finance Commission and Audit Commission, is second favourite with Ladbrokes at 2-1 and while Ng is just behind at 6-4.
Other contenders are said to be René Fasel and Denis Oswald, both of Switzerland, Morocco's Nawal El Moutawakel and C K Wu of Taiwan.
And while Ng said all candidates are loyal to current President Rogge, it is no surprise that interest in his replacement has stepped up in 2013.
"The IOC President will continue until his last day of term in office," said Ng.
"But naturally there will be more discussion on this because that will be one of the very big decisions of 2013 for IOC members."
The new IOC President is due to be elected on September 10 in Buenos Aires and should Ng be elected, he would become only the second non-European to lead the organisation after Avery Brundage of the United States, who was in charge from 1952 to 1972.