Saturday 18 November 2017

Sebastian Coe wants to quash world records of suspected cheats

Lord Coe is in favour of erasing world records set by suspected drugs cheats Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Lord Coe is in favour of erasing world records set by suspected drugs cheats Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE

Martyn Ziegler

World athletics president Sebastian Coe is in favour of erasing world records set by suspected drugs cheats, according to UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner.

UK Athletics yesterday announced a campaign for clean athletics including resetting every world record due to the doping crisis, and says it will seek to bring in a lifetime ban for any athlete guilty of a serious drugs violation.

Warner said he spoke to Coe earlier and that the IAAF president told him he favoured erasing some individual records instead.

Suspicious world records include the women's 200m time of 21.34 seconds set by Florence Griffiths-Joyner in 1988, the men's shot-putt by American Randy Barnes in 1990 - he was later banned for life for steroids - and the women's 400 metres record set in 1985 by East Germany's Marita Koch.

Koch never tested positive but East Germany ran a state-organised doping system and data released in 1992 suggested she was among many athletes who had doped. There were also big suspicions surrounding Griffiths-Joyner, who died suddenly aged 38.

Warner stated: "I met Seb Coe today and he told me he is in favour of picking off those records that are clearly wrong.

"If he can do that, then wonderful and let's get on with it. We believe all world records should be reset once the necessary measures have been brought in.

"The difficulty is picking which records are wrong - for example Flo-Jo never failed a drugs test. But there are many records which are simply unachievable by today's standards."

Warner added that world records should not be allowed to stand if set by anyone guilty of a serious doping violation. However, marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe is opposed to wiping the history books in order to make a clean start. Radcliffe, whose 2 hours 15 minutes 25 seconds marathon mark has endured since 2003, believes such a move would be unfair.

She stated: "Without doubt you are going to punish innocent athletes, so why do it again when they have already had to compete against cheats during their career? I feel that innocent athletes have suffered enough at the hands of drugs cheats."

Radcliffe is one of three British record holders across indoor and outdoor competition, with Jonathan Edwards and Colin Jackson standing alongside her.

"I'll never agree with the records being wiped because I know 100 per cent that at least one of those records was achieved clean and that means more were too," she added.

Instead, Radcliffe feels a better solution is for confirmed dopers to lose all of their records.

"If sufficient evidence comes to light about doping at any point, then all of an athlete's marks should be retrospectively get wiped for their entire career.

"You are not saying they were cheating at that point, but the decision to dope means you forego and sacrifice everything you achieved before that. I think that is a strong deterrent."

Irish Independent

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