Fire­fight­ing Coe, Rus­sia again in IAAF spot­light

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

A re­form-driven Se­bas­tian Coe and drugs-tainted Rus­sia will again be in the spot­light of ath­let­ics’ world gov­ern­ing body when the IAAF gath­ers for three days of crunch meet­ings start­ing to­day.

A cru­cial part of the open­ing IAAF Coun­cil meet­ing will be ded­i­cated to the lat­est up­date from Nor­we­gian Rune An­der­sen, the head of the IAAF Task­force look­ing into the steps Rus­sia is tak­ing to com­bat dop­ing.

The In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions first en­forced a ban on Rus­sian ath­letes in in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion in Novem­ber 2015 af­ter a bomb­shell World Anti-Dop­ing Agency (WADA) re­port un­veiled sys­tem­atic state-spon­sored dop­ing and cor­rup­tion.

An­der­sen will re­port to IAAF’s de­ci­sion-mak­ing body whether he thinks Rus­sia have since met the re­in­state­ment con­di­tions set down. The ini­tial ban has twice been ex­tended, in March and June this year.

It was An­der­sen’s lat­ter Task­force re­port in Vi­enna that scup­pered Rus­sian ath­letes’ chances of com­pet­ing at the Rio Games, de­spite a last­ditch cam­paign to over­throw the ban led by Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.

Putin has in re­cent days, how­ever, ap­proved a law crim­i­nal­is­ing dop­ing in sports, while Rus­sian Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Vi­taly Mutko has promised anti-dop­ing in­spec­tors full ac­cess to mil­i­tary cities which are nor­mally closed to mem­bers of the pub­lic although of­ten listed as train­ing bases by many Rus­sian ath­letes.

Stay­ing with the anti-dop­ing theme, Coe will on Satur­day pre­side over a Spe­cial IAAF Congress, a one-is­sue meet­ing con­cen­trat­ing on the gov­er­nance struc­ture re­form pro­pos­als pre­sented in his ‘Time for Change’ doc­u­ment.

The re­forms have al­ready been given whole­sale sup­port by the IAAF Ath­letes Com­mis­sion, whose mem­bers said they be­lieved that the re­forms would “set and en­force higher eth­i­cal stan­dards and en­able ath­let­ics to re­gain the cred­i­bil­ity and trust it de­serves”.

Coe has gone out of his way to en­sure his re­form process is widely un­der­stood, hav­ing em­barked on a roadshow in Oc­to­ber and Novem­ber that took in the Do­mini­can Repub­lic, Chile, Por­tu­gal, Aus­tralia, Qatar and South Africa.

The Bri­ton, twice an Olympic 1500m gold medal­list, is push­ing for an in­de­pen­dent drugs test­ing regime as part of his over­haul of world ath­let­ics, say­ing that “re­sults man­age­ment” has been a fail­ure given “na­tional in­ter­est in­volved”.

He is propos­ing an “in­de­pen­dent Ath­let­ics In­tegrity Unit”, which will be re­spon­si­ble for dop­ing mat­ters, tak­ing pow­ers away from na­tional as­so­ci­a­tions. The unit would also look into il­le­gal bet­ting and trans­fers of al­le­giance.

Other mooted re­forms in­clude a re­struc­tur­ing of the IAAF Coun­cil so that it has 50 per­cent fe­male mem­ber­ship, new checks and bal­ances on the pres­i­dent, and new vet­ting pro­ce­dures on in­di­vid­u­als.

The pro­posed changes, which need a twothirds’ ma­jor­ity to be passed at Satur­day’s vote, have been brought about by the scan­dal which con­tin­ues to en­gulf ath­let­ics.

Se­bas­tian Coe

In the women’s cat­e­gory, 10,000 m Olympic cham­pion Al­maz Ayana from Ethiopia is up against dou­ble sprint cham­pion Elaine Thompson of Ja­maica and the Olympic ham­mer thrower cham­pion, Poland’s Anita Wlo­dar­czyk. —AFP

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