Coe on attack in doping storm, Bubka wants more transparency

Wed Aug 5, 2015 8:57am EDT
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - The two men bidding to lead world athletics into a new era, Sebastian Coe and Sergey Bubka, offered contrasting reactions on Wednesday to the latest doping storm to engulf the sport's governing IAAF.

While Coe, who is going head-to-head with fellow Olympic champion Bubka to win the election to become president of athletics' world governing body in August, went on the attack, his rival offered a more conciliatory tone.

A damning report in British newspaper The Sunday Times and by German broadcaster ARD/WDR at the weekend accused the IAAF of failing to investigate hundreds of "suspicious" drug tests between 2001 and 2012, raising new questions about the sport just weeks before the Aug. 22-30 world championships in Beijing.

The IAAF hit back in a strongly-worded statement on Tuesday and vice-president Coe, who said the claims were "a declaration of war" on athletics, offered an impassioned defense of the sport he graced as twice Olympic 1,500m champion.

"I don't think anyone should underestimate the anger which is felt in our sport in the betrayal of the last few days of our sport," Coe, who won gold at the 1980 and 1984 Games, told the BBC on Wednesday.

"That in some way we sit on our hands, at best, and at worst are complicit in a cover up, that is just not borne out by anything we have done as a sport in the past 15 years.

"We have led the way on out-of-competition independent testing, we have led the way on laboratories, we were the first sport to have arbitration panels, we introduced blood passports in 2009 because we wanted to elevate the science around weeding out the cheats."


British politician and former athlete Sebastian Coe talks to the media
Action Images via Reuters / Matthew Childs