KEIR RADNEDGE in SEOUL: Lord Sebastian Coe remains fully committed to the controversial revision of athletics records while acknowledging that further detailed work lies ahead.
The president of the International Association of Athletics Federations – the sport’s world governing body – issued here a robust justification of the proposals to re-set records year zero at 2005.
Coe was addressing the 80th annual congress of the AIPS, the international sports journalists’ association.
He knows that two or even three of his own track records may be downgraded in status if the proposals from an IAAF taskforce are approved by council in London in August.
But, amid squeals of anguished pride from some other record-holders of yesteryear, he set out the vista of the sport for the future as more important that the past.
Coe said: “I’ve been in the sport more than 40 years and there is no doubt that many athletes talk about this.
“For example, some of the younger girls in our sport know there are records on the books that, under normal circumstances, they will not get anywhere near breaking and that has to be an inhibitor.”
A European Athletics taskforce led by Pierce O’Callaghan set up specific criteria for a new coherence of records which would include a need for an athlete to have undergone a specific number of tests, a need to hold on to a sample for 10 years and a need to have a record set in a stadium with what Coe described as “the right officialdom.”
As for the next steps, Coe said: “There needs to be further consultation, particularly with the athletes, and it will need to come back to our council during the World Championships in London with more detail. So that is where it sits.”
However he left no doubt that he remained fixed on turning the concept into reality for the sake of tomorrow’s track and field world.
Coe said: “It’s not a sustainable position to have a group for whom ambition is not open to them and it is difficult for us to be saying we want to attract more young people if a section are looking at records and thinking: ‘In normal circumstances I’m not going to get near to them.’
“I don’t think the sport wants to continue with that. So I look forward to the next few months of more detailed work which will come before us for our deliberations in August.”
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