Olympics: Germany's Thomas Bach announces IOC presidential candidacy

FRANKFURT (AP) - Thomas Bach has become the first member to declare his candidacy for IOC president, saying his long experience in the Olympic movement has prepared him for one of the most powerful jobs in sport.

Bach, an International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president, announced his intention to seek election at a news conference in Frankfurt on Thursday.

The 59-year-old German lawyer is the first member to enter the race to succeed Jacques Rogge, who steps down in September after 12 years as president.

Bach, a 1976 Olympic gold medallist in fencing, says he notified Rogge and fellow IOC members of his decision on Wednesday. He says he will formally submit his candidacy in June.

An unofficial election campaign has been going on for months, with Bach and other prospective candidates travelling around the world to attend various Olympic gatherings to talk to members.

Singapore's Ng Ser Miang, the IOC's first vice-president, is expected to announce his candidacy soon. Richard Carrion, a former executive board member from Puerto Rico, is another likely leading contender.

Bach says he has a "wealth of management and leadership experience" that makes him "well prepared" for the IOC's top job.

Ng said in a statement: "I was just informed by Thomas and I congratulate him on his candidacy. I have served the International Olympic Committee (IOC) alongside Thomas for a long time, and I respect him and enjoy working with him. The IOC has a lot of talented members, several of whom might also be interested in the IOC presidency. I have in fact been encouraged to run by many of my IOC colleagues and I will be making a decision soon."