World Athletics boss Sebastian Coe says he has no sympathy for athletes who abuse doping rules, describing them as “architects of their own downfall”.
The double Olympic champion was responding to questions about British sprinter CJ Ujah, who tested positive for two banned substances after helping Team GB’s 4x100m relay team win silver at Tokyo 2020. The 27-year-old strongly denies wrongdoing and his case is now with the Court of Arbitration for Sport, having also returned a positive B sample.
Ahead of the summer Olympics, Christian Coleman was the highest-profile track and field to miss out on the Games, having missed too many drug tests - but Coe says the rules all competitors have to follow are obvious.
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“Take Great Britain out of this, I would share the disappointment in any federation and in any athlete that falls foul,” said Coe.
I am sorry to say this, and I am not going to be romantic or emotional about it, they are the architects of their own downfall here. The rules are very clear. It is not arcane maritime law.
“We spend hundreds of thousands of pounds a year through the Athletics Integrity Unit, for its education programme, making sure athletes and federations understand what the roles, the rules, the obligations are.
“So, yes, I am disappointed in so far as every positive is not a good story. But in a way it does show that we are at least tackling this issue now and we are a federation who are not doing junk tests.”
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Coe also had his say on political boycotts of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, describing them as “meaningless”. The UK, US and Australia are among the administrations that are staging a diplomatic boycott of the Games due to China’s human rights record, particularly in relation to Uighur Muslims. But the head of World Athletics does not believe they will have much effect.
“I’m not insouciant or cavalier about human rights, I take them very seriously,” he said.
Boycotts on balance are historically illiterate and intellectually dishonest. A political boycott is, frankly, meaningless. And in a world where I actually think discussion and relationships are important, rarely do I see isolation bearing fruit.
“But that’s not to be an apologist for countries that do not conform to the basic standards around human rights. I’ve never witnessed sport leaving any country in worse shape than when it’s been there. The impact across the board can be, on many occasions, quite profound.”
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