IAAF to crack down

IAAF to crack down

Body takes up fraudulent qualifying means

IAAF to crack down

In an atte­mpt to crack down on athle­tes qualifying for big championships through fra­u­du­lent means, the International Association of Athletics Federations has set up a working group to study the existing rules that govern them.

Working groups were also set up to review the rules on transfer of allegiance by athletes from country to country and age manipulation. Sebastian Coe, the IAAF president, said these were three areas affecting the integrity of competition.

Athletes performing remarkably well to qualify for major competitions like the Olympics and the World Championships and then underperforming on the big stage has come under spotlight here. There is a feeling that some national federations are manipulating results or performances to send more athletes to the championships.

“When a time or height or distance is registered, it is important that we have assurance it is a bona fide reading, particularly if it is being used as a qualification for a championships,” Coe said at the conclusion of the Olympic Games track and field programme.

Coe said several such cases have been already dealt with. “We have dealt with a number of cases where we have been suspicious of a mark that has been recorded,” he said, and pointed out the difficulty in closely monitoring more than 200 national federations with varying levels of qualities among technical official in this respect.
“It should not extrapolate into a widespread pathology, so we just thought that as sport enters a new era, we need to understand that there may be ruptures in the level-playing field,” he said.

The working group on performance/results manipulation will be headed by IAAF Council member Bernard Amsalem while Athletics Federation of India president Adille Sumariwalla, also a council member, will be in charge of the Age Manipulation working group.

India’s athletes too have been among those underperforming here, unable to match their qualifying shows. Several reasons have been put forth for their below-par show, while the AFI itself is not able to give a plausible explanation.

Coe also touched upon the hyperandrogenism issue and the gender discussions. Last year, in a case filed by Indian athlete Dutee Chand, the Court of Arbitration for Sport had given the IAAF two years’ time to prove its stand that elevated levels of male hormones in female athletes were responsible for their better performances. “It is a complicated medical issue,” he said.

“We have the right people in the right place thinking about this. We will take the case back to CAS and it will be a good case based on medical and scientific advice,” he said.

Commenting on athletes publicly accusing others of doping, Coe said IAAF cannot be hypocritical. “We need to create platforms for athletes to speak out. I don’t want to see athletes demonising other athletes. I want to create platforms where they can express their concerns with confidence.”

 

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