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Sebastian Coe, IAAF chief, calls for revamp of global athletics calendar

Sebastian Coe has stressed that development of athletics at the world level is an urgent priority and it must begin by revamping of the global athletics calendar.

other sports Updated: Jul 04, 2017 22:48 IST
Navneet Singh
Navneet Singh
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
Sebastian Coe,IAAF,Athletics
Sebastian Coe. who is the chief of the IAAF, has called for a total revamp of the international athletics calendar if the sport has to develop.(Sanjib Das/HT Photo)

The International Association of Athletics Federation is set to revamp its global calendar, which its president Sebastian Coe feels is a bit chaotic at present. The elite one-day Diamond League series, which runs from May to September, starting in Asia with the Doha leg and criss-crosses the globe, could be in for a revamp.

“It needs to be changed for the development of athletics at the world level,’’ the British double Olympic champion told the media here on Tuesday.

The IAAF has already scrapped future world under-18 championships. The upcoming U-18 global meet in Nairobi (July 12-16) will be the last edition.

Time to innovate

Coe said there is need to bring in more innovation in the sport to encourage more people to take up athletics, citing the examples of the IPL, rugby sevens and rule changes in hockey. “There are challenges to start a new venture. But there is urgent need to revolutionise athletics, otherwise it will be a struggle. I believe certain changes should have taken place a decade ago.”

With Usain Bolt retiring from athletics after the London World Championships, global athletics is desperate to find someone with charisma to step into the void. (AP)

The former British middle-distance great said top athletes should go head-to-head more often to attract fans and sponsors and advertise the sport.

‘’We intend to change the time table of the world meet so that top individual runners are able to race multiple events like the 200m and 400m. People want to see them race again and again,” he said.

With Usain Bolt due to retire after the London World Championships in August, global athletics is desperate to find someone with charisma to step into the void.

Asia’s potential

The IAAF chief said Asia has huge potential, although China and Japan have made rapid progress while others are still making an effort. “Our endeavour is to see more and more people take up athletics,”’ he said. “Sports has to be strong in school, that’s the only way to move forward.”

Coe pointed to his Indian roots and wanted to see athletics grow in the country. “India has a huge appetite for sport. Sponsors have shown interest and there is potential for Indian athletes to make a mark at the global level.”

On doping, Coe said the world governing body has taken a strong decision and suspended the country (Russia) involved in doping. “The system is improving, but we still have a long journey ahead,” he said.

First Published: Jul 04, 2017 22:41 IST