Sebastian Coe has played multiple roles associated with the Olympics. Winner of the 1500m gold at Moscow (1980) and Los Angeles (1984), head of London's Olympic bid committee in 2005 and 2012 London Olympic Games Organising Committee chairman.

In a conference call from London, Coe told The Hindu “I am proud to say it's been an extraordinary achievement. My Olympic career was important; so was bidding successfully for London six years ago.

“But what's more important is the successful delivery of the London Olympics for the sheer impact it can make on the people of my country and the world; something much more significant than anything I've done as an individual.''

Coe said London was closely connected with the Olympic movement. “In 1908, a multi-purpose stadium was built for the first time for the Games. Then in 1948 we had volunteers for the first time. It had a part in the genesis of the Paralympic Games.”

Responding to a question on doping charges faced by Indian women athletes, Coe said it was a global problem. As vice-president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) he would continue to wage war against doping.

Mr. Coe said his grandfather was an Indian and his mother was born in New Delhi. “The Indian athletes will be awaited in London by a big Indian community with great expectations.”

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