Performances lift Doha to a new level, says Coe
IAAF chief says the federation will take the showpiece event to newer territories.
Ten days of tremendous performances marked the Doha World Championships and as the fiesta came to a conclusion on Sunday, it received a firm endorsement from the sport’s governing body.
“In terms of athletes’ performances, it is the best World Championships we’ve ever had,” Sebastian Coe, the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) told the world’s media. “Second comes Beijing, followed by London,” he said.
Coe drew attention to the remarkable performances witnessed over the last nine days, with 40 countries winning medals, 21 championship records created and 78 national records set till the final day.
“Importantly, 28 per cent of the medals were won by athletes under the age of 24,” said Coe.
“The athletes were better prepared coming here and they were presented with almost perfect conditions. All these show that our sport is in good shape,” said the two-time Olympic champion.
Coe emphasised IAAF’s vision to take the sport’s showpiece event to new territories.
“The fact that 40 countries won medals show the global nature of our sport. It shows that we should not limit our ambitions to take our sport to newer territories, without compromising on the facilities for athletes to perform at their very best.”
The IAAF president also touched upon the Alberto Salazar controversy, with the American coach banned by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for four years for violating rules.
“As soon as we got hold of the decision, we asked all athletes to sever ties with the coach,” said the 55-year-old. “I am sure the Athletics Integrity United would want to go into the whole case,” added Coe, when asked about International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach’s comment that the World Anti-Doping Agency should investigate the athletes who trained under Salazar.
Sifan Hassan, one of Salazar’s trainees, won a double in Doha but had to deflect repeated questions about doping after her 1500M win on Saturday. “Sadly, that’s the world we live in,” said Coe. “But we should be careful in judging people and also be careful about the reputation of the athletes.”