LONDON, November 5 – World athletics chief Sebastian Coe has promised to do “everything in my power” to ensure doping is rooted out from the sport.
His comments came in an interview with the Daily Telegraph conducted before Lamine Diack, Coe’s predecessor as president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) was charged by French police on Wednesday with corruption over suspicions he took bribes to cover up doping cases.
“I will do everything in my power so that a kid going to Haringey Athletics Club (in north London) tonight can be confident they can devote more than half their young lives to this sport in the certain knowledge that the guys they are lining up alongside are not cheating,” Coe told Thursday’s edition of the Telegraph.
“The crowds have to know that what they are watching is genuine. Parents have got to know that they are encouraging their children to go into a sport where they will not be harmed. We will not shy away from this.”
In August, sprint star Usain Bolt won 100m gold at the World Championships in Beijing ahead of Justin Gatlin, returning to competition after a two-year drugs ban.
But British middle-distance great Coe, a double Olympic 1500 metres champion, said his preferred option of life bans for dope cheats was impractical.
“The problem is litigation,” the 59-year-old Coe explained. “Unfortunately the life ban, which I would introduce in a heartbeat, has been tested in court enough times for us to know we are not going to get it back. I’ve already moved this on.
“No athlete who has ever been positively tested will be eligible for our athlete-of-the-year award or for the hall of fame.
Plus we have got back some leeway so that we can extend the two-year ban to four years in some cases. Watch this space on that.”