Earlier in the day, RusAF boss Dmitry Shlyakhtin, had extended his apologies to the 51st IAAF Congress in London for the medals so many other athletes had lost due to Russian doping. The words came as part of an appeal for Russian athletics to be allowed back into international competition, a request that was later overwhelmingly rejected by the Congress with a 166/21 majority.
The apology had however shown Russia’s willingness to get back on track with both IAAF and world anti-doping standards, and an overall smoother road for world athletics, Coe confirmed.
“We are planning to normalise the situation in the coming months, because at the end, we want everybody to be part of the IAAF,” the world athletics president said at the official press conference ahead of the World Championships in London.
Coe did stress that he was still convinced that IAAF had made the right decision in suspending Russia athletes. ‘’I was pleased to hear that [Shlyakhtin] had said sorry for the clean athletes who had their pride stolen by doped Russian athletes, that they recognises themselves that they were doing the wrong things, and they are doing everything they possibly can to change the culture.”
Coe concluded that RusAF reuniting with the rest of IAAF was entirely dependent on the suggestions of the independent task force is led by Norwegian Rune Anderson. It was Andersen’s task force that had presented to the Congress ahead of the vote, that none of the set milestones had been met that would allow Russian athletics to be reinstated.
With London have been a victim of terrorist attacks several times this year, security measures were high on the agenda ahead of what Coe reminded was the third most massive sporting event in the world after the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup.
“We will make sure that London 2017 will be a safe and secure event, but at the same time we are not people in a locked down city, we want London and its citizens to be in the middle of the celebration of athletics. We want people to be aware of the risks, but not to be afraid,” the IAAF president said.
Organizers confirmed that the Championships would indeed be bigger than ever with more than 700,000 tickets sold for the 10 days of events. Previous records at World Championships had been 400,000 tickets in Beijing.
** AIPS is the international sports journalists’ association with 10,000 members worldwide. More information: www.AIPSmedia.com
# # # # # # # # # # # # # # #