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Dublin: 7 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019

British Olympic gold winner becomes new IAAF President in wake of doping controversies

Coe likened his victory to celebrating the birth of his four children.

Sebastian Coe spoke about how 'momentous' an occasion his new appointment was.
Sebastian Coe spoke about how 'momentous' an occasion his new appointment was.
Image: Associated Press

BRITAIN’S SEBASTIAN COE beat Sergey Bubka in a tight vote to become the new president of world athletics body the IAAF yesterday with a series of doping controversies at the top of his agenda.

Coe received 115 votes to Bubka’s 92, and will take over from Lamine Diack, who used his departing speech to take a defiant stab at the sport’s doping detractors, saying they had painted athletics as a “monster”.

Coe likened his victory, at an International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) congress in Beijing, to celebrating the birth of his four children.

“For most of us in this room, we would conclude that the birth of our children is a big moment in our lives, probably the biggest,” London-born Coe, 58, told the congress.


“But I have to say that being given the opportunity to work with all of you and shape the future of our sport is probably the second biggest and (most) momentous occasion of my life.

“In the best traditions of everything in what we believe in our sport, it was fought according to sound judgement throughout.”

China IAAF Elections Journalists watch a screen at a media center of the new IAAF President Sebastian Coe Source: Andy Wong

Bubka had also stood for re-election as IAAF vice-president, and the former pole vault champion from Ukraine was duly voted in to the post along with Qatari Dahlan al-Hamad, Cameroon’s Hamad Kalkaba Malboum and Cuban Alberto Juantorena.


“This is my life. I continue to serve athletics with dignity and big passion,” said Bubka.

“I am a happy man… it was a great and interesting campaign, which is really important for this sport.”

Ukraine Bubka Sergei Bubka Source: Associated Press

Diack said track and field would prosper with Coe, who was a two-time Olympic 1500m gold medallist for Britain in 1980 and 1984 and also set eight outdoor and three indoor world records in middle-distance track events.

“Our sport is in safe hands,” Diack said.  ”The white-haired generation has done what it can, now it’s over to the black-haired generation.”

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