MOSCOW, November 2 (R-Sport) - Russia must top the medal table at the Moscow 2013 world athletics championships, the head of the All-Russian Athletics Federation said Friday.
Russia finished second in athletics at London 2012 and at the last world championships, and the pressure is now on to leapfrog perennial leader the United States.
“The national team should take the first place at these championships,” Valentin Balakhnichev said, adding that Russia's team would prepare "at a very high level".
Balakhnichev, 63, has been federation chief since 1991 and was re-elected Friday for another four-year term that he said would be his last.
His previous term in charge since 2008 had yielded enough medals to satisfy the government, Balakhnichev said, though he admitted he had failed to live up to hit state targets for children's athletics.
He said he would now seek to help Russia's regions catch up with Moscow and other athletics powerhouses, and to groom a successor to take over in 2016.
“My main task will be preparation of the national team for the Games in Rio de Janeiro and improve the regions,” he said.
“The third thing, I think it’s important to prepare a worthy replacement for the next elections.”
Russia won 18 athletics medals at the Olympics, eight of them gold and one fewer gold medal than the United States.
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