Athletics reforms could rejuvenate the sport.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 14.47.27 by LIAM RICHNER

Sebastian Coe speaks like a man who would both fully deliver and keep a promise. 

The IAAF President was openly honest about the current state of Athletics and how he aims to tackle during a programme on BBC One; ‘Can Seb Coe save Athletics?‘.

The 30-minute show provided us with behind the scenes access to the IAAF HQ, located in Monaco.

We see Coe discuss how he believes the sport is now starting to head in the right direction following the recent anti-doping scandal involving Russian athletes surfaced up.

Corruption followed suit after the Russian’s drug findings, with a report concluding the IAAF knew about the cheating athletes catapulting the sport down a dark abyss.

As a result, Lamine Diack was suspended as President of the IAAF, and is currently being investigated by french authorities. Coe then took over, with the governing body in turmoil.

russia doping
Russian duo Ekaterina Poistogova and Mariya Savinova celebrate winning the bronze and gold medals in the 800m at the 2012 Olympics. (Image Credit: http://www.runnersworld.com)

So what does he and the current IAAF council need to do to bring the joy back into the sport? How do we return to the times where there was universal trust on the track between all competing athletes?

The former 1500 gold medalist insists that there isn’t enough Athletics throughout the calendar year and wants to add more events- but lessen the amount of days each meeting/championships lasts.

This would arguably be better in terms of audience, as people just want to see the biggest athletes on the big stage. People would probably rather see three to five days of action rather than the current format that runs nine to ten days.

It would create less of an excuse for major stars such as Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin to take breaks throughout the season- something that hinders audience numbers, especially at Diamond League Meetings.

bolt gatlin
Arguably, the best three runners of the 100m over the last 12 months. (Image Credit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk)

Coe has made a stance by suspending Russia from competing professionally for an indefinite period of time. This leaves athletes from the country more than likely to miss out on a ticket to Brazil and the Olympics in Rio this summer.

This needs to be consistent throughout the next few years. Trust is a massive thing in everyday life, let alone sporting contexts. This will be the IAAF President’s toughest task in regaining the trust of the worldwide society for both the sport and his organisation.

Should more athletes in years to come be found doping- surely they should receive the same fate.

But the truth is that the sport couldn’t be safer hands than in the soft palms of Seb Coe.

After promising a memorable London 2012 Olympics, the 59-year old is now taking on the toughest job of his life, and is facing it head on.

What he needs is the support of the athletes, Athletic clubs and organisations if he is to prevail.

This could be the start of a new take on world Athletics, and it has the potential to blossom should all these reforms take effect within the next few years.

Hopefully by 2020, these dark days could be behind us.

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