News19 Apr 2007

IAAF Council Member Ilkka Kanerva is appointed as Finnish Foreign Minister


Ilkka Kanerva (FIN) - IAAF Council Member (© Getty Images)

IAAF Council Member and Honorary President of Finnish Athletics, Mr. Ilkka Kanerva has been appointed as the new Minister of Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Finnish President Mrs. Tarja Halonen, herself the recipient at the time of the 2005 World Championships of the IAAF’s highest honour, the Golden Order of Merit, approved the list of proposed ministers today (19) in a ceremony held in the Finnish capital.  

Ilkka Kanerva, 59, (National Coalition Party) holds a master's degree in political science and has been a member of the Finnish Parliament since 1975. He has previously worked as Minister of Transportation and Communications from 1990 to 1991, and as Minister of Labour from 1991 to 1995.

Kanerva's career in athletics is long and successful. From 1981 to 1982 and from 1989 to 1990 he held the chair in Finnish Athletics' National Assembly. In 1990 Kanerva was named as the President of Finnish Athletics, a post he held for 15 consecutive years until the 2005 IAAF World Championships in Helsinki, where he also worked as the President of Local Organising Committee. 

Kanerva commented today that his new job as Foreign Minister should be very beneficial for national and international athletics.

“I have always had a strong passion for athletics, and I feel that through my position as a Foreign Minister there will be plenty of possibilities for developing athletics locally and globally. So I am willing to continue my work as a member of IAAF Council for years to come.”

Kanerva who was elected to IAAF Council in 2003 also served as a Member of the EAA Council from 1999-2003, and said that he has always believed in hard work and good planning, and that it is this combination he wants to cherish in all his duties.  

“Being the Foreign Minister of a sports-crazy nation gives me good background to work for the IAAF. I look at this situation as a great opportunity.”

Mika Noronen (Finnish Athletics Press Officer) for the IAAF