IAAF chief promises better dope control measures

IAAF Chief Sebastian Coe is determined to restore the organisation's credibility after several doping controversies

Sebastian Coe is a former Olympic gold medallist   -  REUTERS

International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Sebastian Coe has promised that drug testing will be faster and more independent in future with the world body doing everything to protect clean athletes.

Athletics was hit by doping controversies ahead of the world championships in August and Coe, who met sports officials from India and other South Asian nations here on Monday, asserted that he is determined to restore the IAAF's credibility.

“We are going to introduce more independence in our testing systems. Technically it is a complicated area but we are looking to introduce faster systems since at the moment the time between testing and sanctions is pretty long,” Coe told reporters after the meeting.

“It's not uniquely a track and field problem. Every sport in the world has global issues. It is our responsibility to make sure that our systems are clear and concise and the protocols are uniform across the globe,” he added. “We must encourage the clean athletes to believe that we are always going to be in their corner. The reason that you have testing systems is actually to protect the clean athletes. It's not just simply to remove those who cheat.”

Coe, a two-time Olympic 1500 metres champion, pointed out that the IAAF has put in a lot of effort in uncovering drug cheats in recent years and insisted that athletics' image as a dope tainted sport is an incorrect perception.

“Usain Bolt is the most tested athlete, male or female, in any sport on the planet. Reality and perception often get badly tangled,” he said. “We take this very very seriously and we need to make sure that the public believe what they watch in a stadium is legitimate.”

Coe added that the world body was attempting to introduce blood passports and other anti-doping measures, but halting drug cheats was not possible without the support of member nations. He also said that the IAAF will soon establish a values commission to educate young athletes of the dangers of doping.