Lord Coe looks towards new era for athletics

Lord Sebastian Coe has begun his role as President of the IAAF
Lord Sebastian Coe has begun his role as President of the IAAF

International Association of Athletics Federations president Lord Coe is looking forward to a new era in athletics after taking up his new role at the helm of the sport.

After successfully bringing the Olympics to London, the 58-year-old who grew up in Sheffield, now faces the challenge of leading athletics through one of the most crucial times in the sport's history.

Coe was elected as the world governing body's new president on August 19 in Beijing, edging out pole vault great Sergey Bubka in the vote at the IAAF Congress.

He officially began his role on Sunday and said: "Athletics has been at the centre of my life since I was a young boy. Everything I am today can be credited to my experiences and successes in this sport and my mission now is to enhance the sport's ability to inspire and entertain.

"Today is my first day of office as President of the IAAF. I am very excited and proud to have been given an opportunity to lead our great sport into the new era that lies ahead.

"I am looking forward to working closely with my colleagues on the IAAF Council, who yesterday accepted my recommendation to appoint Sergey Bubka as our Senior Vice President."

A long, difficult road awaits but the double Olympic gold medallist over 1,500 metres has been backed to succeed in the role by a number of individuals and organisations.

He will start by looking at the management structures within the organisation in a bid to give the best performance.

He said: "I am determined to get out of the starting blocks quickly, so today we begin a detailed review of our existing management structures and use of resources to ensure that within the next 100 days, IAAF Council can approve new systems and teams which are necessary for delivering our ambitious plans.

"We are committed to ensuring good governance in everything that we do and, as a starting point, our legal team has been asked to conduct an in-depth review of the IAAF Constitution and related governance."

Coe succeeded Lamine Diack, the 82-year-old from Senegal, who was president since 1999, and became only the sixth president in the IAAF's 103-year history - and it is the fight against banned drugs which is set to be front and centre of his reign.

He added: "Finally, a working group has been set up to look into the possibility of establishing a new over-arching integrity unit for athletics which would house an anti-doping operation with greater independence and have access to a newly formed independent tribunal to hear doping cases of international level athletes (and support personnel).

"This will be done without impeding or in any way delaying investigations currently under way.

"These are exciting times for athletics and I am delighted to be in a position to help the sport break new barriers."