Our sport is more than 'test tubes, blood and urine': Coe

Sun Aug 30, 2015 7:11am EDT
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By Nick Mulvenney

BEIJING (Reuters) - Part of Sebastian Coe's new job as head of world athletics will be to shift the conversation about his "ostensibly clean" sport from doping to spectacular performances, he said on Sunday.

The Briton will become president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) at the conclusion of the 15th world championships on Sunday.

The former Olympic champion takes over a sport that has endured a month of allegations that it is soft on doping after the leak of thousands of blood tests to media organizations.

Coe was asked whether he had sympathy for athletes like his compatriot Mo Farah, who won a second successive world distance double on Saturday, when people questioned how they were able to perform such grueling feats.

"We have to be very careful here about making assumptions about quality and unpredictable performances which for the largest part are down to innate ability and hard work," the former middle-distance world record holder told reporters.

"About 10 years of road mileage, thousands tonnes of steel energy and people who have given up large parts of their lives to help out," he added.

"It is slightly the territory we have inherited and one of my responsibilities is to move us off that territory, we are more than just a discussion about test tubes, blood and urine."

Coe again launched a defense of the IAAF, saying there was no doubt it had done everything in its power to root out drug cheats.   Continued...

President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Sebastian Coe of Britain watches the men's 800m Masters final during the 15th IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing, China, August 29, 2015.        REUTERS/Damir Sagolj