NAIROBI, May 11 (Reuters) - Thomas Bach, bidding to become president of the International Olympic Committee, was backed on Saturday by Kenyan running great Kipchoge Keino who said the German would press on with reforms and an anti-corruption drive.
Bach, an IOC vice-president who on Thursday became the first official candidate, was the 1976 Olympic fencing champion and had long been considered a front-runner in the race.
The IOC will elect a new president at its session in Buenos Aires on Sept. 10 to replace Jacques Rogge, whose two-term rule since 2001 comes to a mandatory end.
The 73-year-old Keino, who won Olympic gold in the 1968 and 1972 Games in Mexico City and Munich, said Bach had proven leadership skills.
“(Bach has) the will and ability to lead the Olympic Movement competently and in a professional style and continue the reform agenda and zero-tolerance to corruption (pursued by Rogge),” Keino said in a statement.
Senior IOC members tipped as possible contenders include vice president Ng Ser Miang of Singapore and Puerto Rican Richard Carrion, head of the IOC’s Finance Commission.
C.K. Wu of Taiwan and Swiss sports administrators Denis Oswald and Rene Fasel are also seen as potential candidates along with former pole vault champion Sergei Bubka of Ukraine.
Editing by Edmund Blair and Ed Osmond