By Duncan Mackay in Kuala Lumpur

Mike Fennell in Delhi 2010.Mike Fennell is set to end his 17-year reign as President of the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) after promising Malyasia's Prince Tunku Imran (pictured) that he will not stand against him in the elections later this year.

The Jamaican has held the position since first being elected at Victoria in Canada in 1994 but will step down in November at the Assembly in St Kitts and Nevis when Tunku, who has been the CGF's vice-president since 2003, is expected to be the only candidate.

Fennell told Tunku that he would not seek another term during a telephone call earlier this week.

Fennell had been forced to miss this week's Executive Board meeting of the CGF because he is currently recovering in Jamaica from triple heart bypass surgery he underwent recently.

"I was in contact with Mike Fennell to let him know that I'd like to announce my candidancy during the time of the EB, particularly as so many [CGF] regional vice-presidents were here," 63-year-old Tunku told insidethegames.

"I did announce to the Board that I would be standing.

"Mike Fennell (pictured) said to me, 'If you are standing then I won't'.

"He's said he is going to stand down."

Tunku, whose late father Tuanku Jaafar was Malaysia's King between 1994 and 1999, has been a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) since 2006 and President of the Olympic Council of Malaysia since 1998, the year that Kuala Lumpur became the first country in Asia to host the Commonwealth Games.

That event is widely credited with helping reinvigorate the Games.

"Since Kuala Lumpur the Federation has gone...to something that is much bigger," Tunku said.

"Our vision was that the Games should represent what the Commonwealth is best at.

"We made it happen."

Tunku now wants to carry on that philosophy when he is elected as President.

One of the first things he plans to do is to arrange a strategic review early next year involving the GCF, Commonwealth Games Associations and sports to discuss the future direction of the events, including how to get the top athletes like Usain Bolt to compete.

"I'm keen not to change direction but to strengthen the Federation in so many ways," he said.

"We need to be better known.

"We have to try establish the desire of top athletes to want to be part of the Games, without obviously getting into the payment of monies because we can't go down that route.

"We've got to change the perception of the top athletes.

"That's to do with how we market the Games and position the Games."

Tunku also wants to continue encouraging more countries from around the Commonwealth to bid for the Games following last year's event in New Delhi and the candidature from Hambantota in Sri Lanka for 2018.

"We really want to get Commonwealth countries who have never had the Games that are capable of doing a good Games really to start bidding," he said.

"Singapore is a classic case [and] South Africa has three cities which could do the Games very well."

Contact the writer of this story at duncan.mackay@insidethegames.biz.


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