Sebastian Coe (Reuters)
World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe warned would-be dopers on Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic and widespread suspension of competition will not shelter them from repercussions.
With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics postponed until 2021 and several other world championships needing to be rescheduled because of the crisis, athletes will face much less testing.
However Coe told Reuters in an interview that there was no chance of drug cheats slipping through the net.
“In reality, of course, there isn’t much in the way of competition testing because frankly we’ve lost most of the competitions,” said Coe.
“The only advice I would give every athlete is don’t play roulette with the concept that intelligent testing is going to do anything other than track you down. Some years ago we moved away from the concept that it’s just about numbers.
“The Athletics Integrity Unit is at the top of its game. No athlete should be seduced into thinking this is some sort of moratorium on our fight against drugs. It is not,” he added.
“If they choose to step beyond the boundaries we have clearly set and the Athletic Integrity Unit and World Athletics is fearless about protecting, they will come undone.”
The AIU was set up by the sport’s governing body in 2017 to oversee integrity issues in athletics including doping.
The question of whether athletes who had already qualified for the Olympics will have to do so again will also come under the microscope in the coming weeks, with 57 per cent of 11 000 or so athletes set to appear in Tokyo having booked their spots.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has not clarified whether these places are assured, although the Australian Olympic Committee said on Wednesday that its qualified athletes can compete in the delayed Games.
“We have to be really clear that qualification will be an issue for athletes, our internal teams have looked at that,” said Coe. (Reuters)
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