SOFIA, March 25 (Reuters) - European Athletics named Dobromir Karamarinov as interim president after Norwegian Svein Arne Hansen suffered a serious stroke last week, the Bulgarian told Reuters on Wednesday.
Karamarinov, who served as European Athletics' first vice president, will perform Hansen’s duties while he recovers.
The 73-year-old Hansen, who suffered the stroke at home on March 15, was elected as President of European Athletics in 2015.
"It's a delicate situation and I feel really strange because Svein Arne is a great man, I know him for 30 years and we are very good friends," Karamarinov, who is also a World Athletics Council Member and president of the Bulgarian athletics federation, told Reuters.
"I wish him a speedy and full recovery and I'd like to see him back as president of European Athletics.
European Athletics organises the European championships with this year's event scheduled to take place in Paris in August, although it could be affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
"We hope that the European championships will take place as scheduled," Karamarinov said. "But the situation in France is very serious at the moment and we'll see what will happen in the next month or two.
"It's a really difficult moment but we all want to see European athletes back on the track as soon as possible."
Karamarinov, who turns 62 on Thursday, is a former international 400 metres hurdler.
(Reporting by Angel Krasimirov, editing by Ed Osmond)