20 Aug 2015

Coe promises to stand by shot put

9:33 am on 20 August 2015

Some good news for the future of shot put at the Olympics following the election of Sebastian Coe as the new World Athletics boss.

Valerie Adams

Valerie Adams Photo: Photosport

The 2-time Olympic champion has promised to stand by his campaign pledge to set up an independent anti-doping body for his embattled sport, following his election as the new president of the IAAF.

However Coe says he'll also give his full attention to the management and direction of the IAAF and work closely with the IOC.

Last year there were reports that shot put at the Olympics could be under threat as the IOC wanted to modernsie the games.

A high ranking Australian official revealed that the five events regarded most at risk under in an athletics shake-up were the 10,000 metres, one of the men's race walks, the 200 metres, shot put and triple jump.

The changes aren't likely to affect Valerie Adams as the sports for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and 2020 in Tokyo have already been decided with the shot put in place.

Coe has vowed to fight any moves to cull athletics events from the Olympic programme and that he intends to work closely with the Olympic movement to maintain athletics as the number one sports at the games.

"This has been a very, very long, hard tough campaign," he said, "But it has given sport chance to pause for breath, to review itself, renew itself, think about what the next 30 or 40 years look like."

Coe says creating new fans of the sport will be paramount in a world where many youths are becoming captivated by football and electronic games.

Athletics legend Sebastian Coe

Athletics legend Sebastian Coe Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Coe won the ballot for the presidency of the IAAF last night, beating Ukraine's Sergey Bubka 115 votes to 92.

He starts his new job on the 31st of this month, the day after the world track and field championships end in Beijing.

The former Olympic 1,500 metres champion will replace Senegalese Lamine Diack, who has run the body for the last 16 years, at the end of the world championships in Beijing.

Coe's initial term will be for four years.

The 58-year-old Briton takes over as head of a sport battling a public relations crisis with the IAAF accused of failing in its duty to address doping amid allegations that blood doping was rife in the sport.

Coe has defended the IAAF's record on doping and said that under his leadership the sport would move towards setting up its own anti-doping agency.

Although the battle against doping has dominated the headlines in recent weeks, Coe has outlined a raft of other challenges he says the sport of athletics needs to confront.

These include attracting new sponsors, empowering federations with the resources to develop high quality athletes and tweaking a far-flung schedule that he said can be confusing, even to people within the sport.

"We always have to remember that our product is athletics but our business is entertainment," the two-time Olympic gold medallist said in his first press conference after Wednesday's election win.

A businessman, politician and sports administrator who heading up the organisation of the 2012 London Olympics, the 58-year-old Coe is equally at home in the corporate world as he is mixing with athletes and officials at the track.

He said creating new fans of the sport would be paramount in a world where many youths are becoming captivated by football and electronic games.

"We have to make sure we engage with young people, that is the challenge," said Coe, who joined an athletics club when he was 11.

Coe said he was now better equipped than ever to understand the needs of the sport after flying more than 700,000 kilometres around the world to canvas support for his election bid among the sports federations.

"I was sitting talking to federation presidents who, out of their own disposable income, are paying for pots of paint to mark the track to maintain a primary school championship in one continent," he recalled

"Then taking a flight and talking about a completely different set of challenges somewhere else. That's the beauty of the sport.

"My duty is to make sure that sport moves ahead at roughly the same pace, giving equal opportunity to meet the challenges, and the ambitions and dreams of their athletes."

To accomplish the task, he has promised to give his full attention to the management and direction of the International Association of Athletics Federations and work closely with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

He proudly maintains that athletics is the number one sport in the Olympic movement, even though the distribution of Olympic revenues to international federations has seen swimming and gymnastics join track and field at the top tier.

Coe also vowed to fight any moves to cull athletics events from the Olympic programme and, as part of his election promises, he said he would allocate $200,000 to each of the more than 200 national athletics federation, every four years.

"This has been a very, very long, hard tough campaign," he said, "But it has given sport chance to pause for breath, to review itself, renew itself, think about what the next 30 or 40 years look like."

But the item at the top of his to-do list, is restoring credibility and trust in the sport, which he said will include establishing an independent anti-doping agency to curb any cheating.

"Everything you do in the sport is underpinned by trust," he said.

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