SINGAPORE - Would-be International Olympic Committee (IOC) boss Ng Ser Miang said the Olympic body would benefit from having an Asian leader and pledged a new era for the organisation as the race for the presidency enters the home straight.
The former Singapore national sailor, who is a diplomat and chairman of FairPrice, said the 119-year-old IOC needs a "different perspective" as it heads into an age where the world's most populous region will play a far greater role.
The 64-year-old is considered a strong contender among the six candidates vying to replace Belgium's Jacques Rogge as IOC president in a vote in Buenos Aires on Sept 10.
The IOC, founded in 1894 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, has had seven European presidents and one American, with Mr Rogge in charge since 2001.
Mr Ng said: "The IOC has become very global and I think, for the organisation, it's important to have a different perspective."
When asked if it was time the IOC had an Asian leader, he said: "I hope so!
"But I think it's important not only symbolically, but also for the values (an Asian leader) can bring to the table, when we talk about universality, different value systems, different cultures, different ways of looking at issues and challenges."
He is one of two candidates from Asia, along with Taiwan's Dr C. K. Wu, head of the International Boxing Federation. Germany's Thomas Bach is touted as the front runner, followed by Mr Ng.
Mr Ng proposed containing the huge costs of putting on Summer and Winter Olympics, which currently rule out many cities, and better risk assessment to protect hosts from financial difficulties.
He said: "We have to review the Games' bids process, despite scales and complexities of the Games, and review sports programmes as well. We have to make sure they continue to be exciting and relevant."