Thu, Aug 20, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Coe wins IAAF election, to work on athletics’ image


Sebastian Coe has won a four-year term as president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and has been given an immediate mandate to restore the image of the governing body for track and field, which has been grappling with a doping controversy.

Coe, 58, received 115 votes to Sergei Bubka’s 92 in yesterday’s election to replace 82-year-old Lamine Diack of Senegal, who stood down after 16 years.

Coe, a two-time Olympic 1,500m gold medalist, former British Conservative Party lawmaker and chairman of the London 2012 bid and organizing committee, reportedly traveled 700,000km during the campaign and, unlike Bubka, had only been nominated for the top job without the vice presidential fallback option.

“In the best traditions of everything we both believe in our sport, it was fought according to sound judgement throughout,” said Coe, who ranked the election victory as the most significant moment in his life besides becoming a father.

“Given the opportunity to work with all of you in the future of our sport is probably the second biggest and momentous occasion in my life,” Coe said.

Ukraine pole vault great Bubka, a former Olympic and world championship gold medalist and long-time world-record holder, retained his position as a vice president in a subsequent poll.

He wished Coe every success to “lead our sport, which we really love — we devoted our life for this great sport.”

“I know athletics in the future will grow and become stronger and stronger. Nothing changed in my life. I will continue to serve athletics with dignity and big passion as I did before,” Bubka said.

The IAAF election, held in the lead-up to the world championships that start on Saturday in Beijing, has been overshadowed by intense criticism following media reports that it has failed to act on evidence of widespread blood doping.

German broadcaster ARD and Britain’s the Sunday Times newspaper citied leaked test results from a 2011 study in an IAAF database and asserted that blood doping was rampant in the sport.

The IAAF last week denied it had tried to block publication of the study and confirmed that 28 athletes had been caught in retests of their doping samples from the 2005 and 2007 world championships, but said none of the athletes are to be competing in this year’s competition.

Coe, who last week described the allegations as a “declaration of war” against the sport, has proposed a fully independent anti-doping tribunal to deal with the issues.

Diack defended the IAAF handling of doping under his watch, saying the sport’s governing body had continually introduced new measures to combat doping and was at the forefront of the anti-doping campaign in sports.

“A newspaper stole some information from our databank, but our officers have reacted in an admirable way,” Diack said in his opening address at the two-day congress.

“They have said: ‘This is what we have done, this is what we’re doing,’” Diack added.

“We will be holding these championships in Beijing and people will say ‘80 percent of the athletes are bound to test positive,’ but no, this is totally untrue,” Diack added.

“We must resolve, of course, the problem of doping. All the champions must be tested regularly and each country must have its own anti-doping body,” he said.

There were 211 eligible member federations voting in the election, with Afghanistan and Iran absent and Gabon under suspension.

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