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Age no factor for long-serving Diack

Pune, July 1, 2013, dhns: 0:03 IST
Lamine Diack
Long-serving sports administrators might be under fire in India from various quarters but for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), it isn’t an issue, at least for now.

Lamine Diack, the president of the IAAF, refused to warm to the idea that limits should be put on the tenures of principal office-bearers. Diack, who is here to attend the Asian Athletics Association congress and elections, cited his own example to brush aside such a suggestion.

“I became general secretary of the Senegalese federation in 1963 – 50 years ago. I made it to the top in Africa in 1973. I became a vice-president of the IAAF in July 1976 and its president 14 years ago,” said the 80-year-old administrator. “So, I don't think that is an issue.”

When his focus was drawn to the rising doping cases in India, Diack said it was for the Indian government to crack the whip. India has the second highest number in IAAF’s list of athletes banned for doping.

“The government should have a law and a system in place to deal with this issue firmly – perhaps they should find out how the drugs are reaching them. You shouldn’t narrow it to a problem of the sporting body alone – put a law in place to tackle it firmly.”

Diack felt it was inevitable that certain people cheat. “We have put precautions in place but we are also human beings and it can happen. We conduct 1000 tests and even if only 80 people test positive in that, people talk about it and not about the 920 who cleared the test,” he said throwing light on the efforts made by the IAAF to weed out cheats, including tougher sanctions and biological passports.

Diack urged the Asian countries to stick together as one to move forward in the sporting world. “You look at Africa, we are like a village, the unity is great. I don’t see it enough in Asia. Sit down together and look what you can achieve as a united force,” he implored.

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