Coleman win would be 'good' for athletics - Coe

Sebastian Coe (Getty)
Sebastian Coe (Getty)

Doha - World athletics chief Sebastian Coe gave his backing to Christian Coleman on Thursday, saying it would be a "good thing" for the sport if the US sprinter, who recently escaped an anti-doping ban, wins gold at the World Championships.

Coleman, the fastest man in the world this year over 100m, is the heavy favourite in Saturday's final at the Khalifa Stadium, but in the eyes of some is fortunate to be racing in Doha.

In August, the athletics world was rocked by news that the American had registered three drug-testing "whereabouts" failures in a 12-month period - an offence usually regarded as equivalent to a failed drug test and followed by a ban of up to two years.

However, the case against Coleman was withdrawn after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) received guidance on how the 12-month window used to determine the offence should be calculated.

Coleman has strongly denied wrongdoing, insisting earlier this month he had never taken performance-enhancing drugs and never would.

On Thursday, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Coe said Coleman had his support.

Asked if a victory for the 23-year-old would be a "good thing" for athletics, Coe was unequivocal.

"Yes it's good for the sport if Christian Coleman wins the 100m," Coe told reporters.

"I don't think he'll have it all his own way, but yes, of course it is."

Coe added that anti-doping's whereabouts system - rules which enable testers to find athletes at any time - were a key part of the war on drug cheats.

"I want to be clear about it. There are number of issues we need to hold very firmly to," he said. "The whereabouts (system) is a very important part of the ecosystem. All athletes understand the seriousness of it.

"A missed test should set off alarm bells."

Coleman's three recorded "whereabouts failures" took place on June 6, 2018, January 16 2019 and April 26, 2019.

Under international rules, the first of those offences should have been recorded on the first day of the quarter in question - April 1, 2018 - meaning his three missed tests covered more than 12 months.

Several athletes have criticised the rule, which left Coleman free to compete, calling for the loophole to be closed.

Coe said on Thursday that athletics and anti-doping chiefs were looking at the rules.

"We've spent the last two days reviewing the way we do this and it's important that this takes place, but we also have to be very protective of the reputation of the athletes," Coe said.

"So yes, it would be a good thing if Christian Coleman won the 100m. But as I said it will be a very competitive field."

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