Sebastian Coe’s bid for presidency of the IAAF has been enthusiastically endorsed by former Olympian and Thames Valley Harriers athletics club chairman, Michael Parker.
Lord Coe pledged to fight against doping in athletics when he delivered his manifesto, the same day German TV alleged that as many as 99% of Russian athletes dope.
In the face of this criticism, double Olympic champion Coe faces a mammoth task to preserve the integrity of athletics should he be elected in August, but Mr Parker contends that if anyone can do it, Coe can.
“Doping has to be tackled and he will, I’m sure, put in the strongest measures,” he said.
“He starts off with a strong point of view and credentials that he will tackle it.”
Coe is currently vice-president of athletics’ world governing body and is likely to face stiff competition from fellow vice-president Sergei Bubka in the race to succeed departing president Lamine Diack.
Coe wants to increase the reach and appeal of athletics and intends to do this by transforming the athletics calendar and bringing in city centre ‘street athletics’ competitions.
His manifesto ‘Growing Athletics in a New Age’ also places the creation of a new ethic department and increasing anti-doping resources high on his proposed agenda.
There was also a strong emphasis on youth engagement to recruit and inspire the next generation of athletes with reflects the core philosophy behind his successful stint as head of the London 2012 organisation committee.
Mr Parker is sure that Coe will show the same commitment to youth if his presidential bid is successful.
He said: “Throughout the Olympic bid, he was always very strong and positive about bringing young people into sport.
“He is a great advocate for the sport and a great a communicator.”
Mr Parker represented Great Britain in the 110m hurdles at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and Mexico 1968.
He was a silver medalist in the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Jamaica.
He is now chairman of Thames Valley Harriers who train at the Linford Christie Stadium in Hammersmith and he spoke very highly of Coe’s role in athletics.
“He is by far the most persuasive, articulate advocate for the sport,” he said.
Michael Parker is author of “It’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it!” available now in bookshops and from Amazon.
Image courtesy of Hodder Books via YouTube, with thanks