NEW DELHI: Sebastian Coe, double Olympic gold medallist and the face of the 2012 London Olympic Games, lashed out at the opponents of the new world anti-doping code on Monday, saying there had to be zero tolerance for doping in sports.
“I don’t care if their (banned athletes’) careers are cut short by implementation of the new code,” said Coe. “Athletes have to make the decision (whether to compete as a clean sportsperson or face the consequence if caught),” he added.
The revised anti-doping code that comes into effect from January 1, 2009, calls for lengthier bans than the standard two-year suspensions in “aggravating circumstances” and bars players serving doping bans from training with their teams during that period.
“In the first place, athletes know what the consequences are of taking drugs. Taking drugs is dangerous, it is cheating and totally unnecessary,” said Coe, who is also the Chairman of the FIFA Ethics Committee.
A strong advocate of bringing back the four-year ban for doping violations, Coe said he would still have preferred the longer ban as an effective deterrent when asked about the revised Code falling short of the four-year ban that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had been pressing for. “It (four-year bans) is important for the athletes’ confidence,” said Coe.
Coe, winner of the 1500m gold medals at the 1980 Moscow Games and the 1984 Los Angeles Games, is here to attend a conference, “London and Delhi: host cities — unlocking opportunities.” While Delhi is hosting the 2010 Commonwealth Games, London will be the venue of the 2012 Olympics. Coe is the chairman of the London Games Organising Committee and is part of a delegation headed by London Mayor, Ken Livingstone. After completing his part at the conference, Coe, accompanied by Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi, Secretary-General Randhir Singh and the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) Secretary-General Lalit Bhanot, visited the Nehru Stadium to interact with the local athletes.
Greeted on arrival at the stadium by two Indian stalwarts — hurdler Gurbachan Singh Randhawa and 800m runner Sriram Singh — Coe enquired with Sriram who the ‘Singh’ who had made such a great impression at the Montreal Olympics in the 800m final was.
When told by the Indian record holder that it was none other than himself, Coe had a special word of praise for him.