Dominican Republic’s José Joaquín Puello has submitted a surprise application to challenge Trinidad and Tobago’s Brian Lewis as President of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC),
They are due to go head to head at elections due to take place at an Extraordinary General Assembly set to begin in Barranquilla in Colombia on Thursday (February 2).
Lewis, President of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee (TTOC), was unanimously elected on an interim basis to replace Barbados’ Steve Stoute at an Annual General Meeting in Guadeloupe in October.
He had made his intentions clear to run for the job on a permanent basis and was widely expected to be rubber-stamped into the position.
Lewis sent his application on January 10.
He was nominated by TTOC vice-president Annette Knott.
Puello’s bid is thought to have taken even some of the region’s top sporting officials by surprise.
The 76-year-old is also one of five contenders to be President of the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) at an election in April along with Brazil’s Carlos Nuzman, St Vincent and the Grenadines’ Keith Joseph, Chile’s Neven Ilic and St Lucia’s Richard Peterkin.
It appears, though, that his PASO objective remains unchanged.
Puello spent 22 years as Dominican National Olympic Committee (COD) President until 2004 and also played a key role in organizing the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo.
He also spent 16 years as President of the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organization between 1987 and 2003.
He was nominated by the current COD President Luis Mejia Oviedo.
Puello briefly withdrew from the PASO Presidential race on the advice of a doctor last year before announcing his return to the contest when he was given the all clear.