Ratko Kovačić has been named as the new president of the European Paralympic Committee (EPC).
The Croatian was elected unopposed at the governing body’s elective assembly in the Polish city of Katowice, and will assume the role immediately having been vice president since 2013. He has also served as the president of the Croatian Paralympic Committee since 1997, and became an EPC board member in 1999.
Kovačić replaces Denmark’s John Petersson, who is stepping down after eight years to stand for the presidency of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
“This selection continues the long-time mission for the improvement of our organisation,” said Kovačić. “As a member of a large Paralympic family, I can only say that I am extremely proud and honoured and that at the same time, I feel a responsibility to bring us to a common goal. I would like to thank all who have given me support and given strength for successfully continuing to build on the solid foundations laid by my predecessor John Petersson.
“We want every year to increase the rate of participation of people with disabilities in sport, especially in the less developed countries of Europe. Our strategy is based on increasing the rate of women's participation in sport for people with disabilities throughout Europe and we will, in the coming period, certainly focus a lot of attention on the two key points of development.”
Kovačić is also a former Paralympic athlete, having represented Croatia in table tennis at the 2000 and 2004 Paralympic Games in Sydney and Athens respectively.