Best World Championships ever: Incoming IAAF chief Coe

Beijing, Aug 30 (IANS) Incoming International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) president Sebastian Coe gave all thumbs up to the World Championships that will conclude on Sunday.

“I’m delighted. China staged a wonderful championships and it’s been sensational,” Xinhua quoted Coe as saying.

“I left the stadium last night with people who have been to many championships before saying: Arguably the best world championships ever! Great crowd, full stadium, passionate and noisy people, in-form athletes that are competing at the highest level.

“The athletes are always a good judge. They are reporting that they have been looked after extremely well. Everybody is happy, it’s a great, great championships,” he added.

The Chinese athletes came to spotlight at Beijing’s iconic Bird’s Nest stadium when the men’s relay team claimed a stunning silver medal in the men’s 4×100 metres, with which Coe felt very pleased.

“I’m not surprised but I’m very pleased with the performance of the Chinese athletes. China will play a huge role of the development of our sport. The federation has been focusing its attention on producing good performances here, and you have done that exactly.

“The relay silver at the world championships is pretty indicative of the progress that Chinese athletes made. That made you one of the top sprinting nations in the world, certainly for relays,” the British added.

Coe, a former Conservative Party lawmaker and a member of the House of Lords, a two-time Olympic 1,500 metres champion and chief organiser of the 2012 London Olympics, beat Ukrainian pole vault great Sergei Bubka to be elected as the new president ahead of the Beijing Worlds.

He will officially take over from the 82-year-old Lamine Diack as the president after the Beijing Worlds concludes, and already looks forward to a “new chapter of the sport”.

“We will build on the strong legacy that our sport has. President Diack, my predecessor, has created a very profound legacy. We now have 214 member associations and 207 of them are competing here, which is bigger than any other world championships.

“We need the governing body to be at the service of the member associations, and to protect the athletes. We also need to work hard to make sure the sport can grow globally.

“I want to really make sure that more members have resources to not only send their athletes to the championships but have the athletes make into the final and win medals.”

Coe, whose initial term will be for four years, will need to go straight to work to convince the public that the IAAF can properly tackle the scourge of doping.

German broadcaster ARD and Britain’s The Sunday Times newspaper reported earlier this month that one-third of medals in endurance races at the Olympics and world championships were won by athletes who have recorded suspicious blood readings.

“Our commitment is non-negotiable,” said Coe, who is advocating a zero-tolerance policy against doping problems.

“Can we do things better? Yes we can. Can we learn from previous experiences? Of course we can. We are determined to not only remove the cheats but also protect the clean athletes.

“It’s not just simply an anti-doping programme. We need the sport to be founded on the twin pillars: trust and integrity. Days ago we were able to remove medals from the athletes that’s been cheating back in 2005. We take this very seriously.”

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