Sebastian Coe, who is bidding for the presidency of the IAAF, has defended the drug-testing strategy adopted by the global governing body of athletics in the wake of fresh allegations about doping in the sport.
Coe (pictured), who is up against Sergei Bubka in the election to replace current IAAF president Lamine Diack on August 19 in Beijing, China, ahead of the World Championships from August 22-30, vowed to “come out fighting” to protect the reputation of the sport.
German public-service broadcaster ARD and the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper have alleged that the IAAF failed to act on suspicious blood tests involving hundreds of athletes between 2001 and 2012.
“It is a declaration of war on my sport,” Coe told the Associated Press news agency. “I take pretty grave exception to that. This, for me, is a fairly seminal moment. There is nothing in our history of competence and integrity in drug-testing that warrants this kind of attack. We should not be cowering. We should come out fighting.”
The report examined the results of 12,000 blood tests and concluded that 800 were suspicious. “The use of that database, however it got into their possession, displayed either breathtaking ignorance or a level of malevolence around a set of readings you can simply cannot extrapolate beyond,” Coe said. “The idea that my sport sat there either covering up wrongdoing or just being incompetent could not be wider of the mark.”
Coe added that he would trust the IAAF’s commission of three independent experts who have tested and checked thousands of blood samples. “The use of this stuff, the sensationalising, this is absolutely an attempt to destroy the reputation of the athletes and our sport,” Coe said. “Nobody is remotely suggesting that news organisations don't have the right to question and challenge and kick the tires. But this selective use of this so-called information is just wrong.”