Seb Coe: There will be life after Usain Bolt

Sebastian Coe is optimistic about the future of athletics

Sebastian Coe insists there will still be life in athletics after Usain Bolt.

The world's fastest man has stated he plans to hang up his spikes after the 2017 World Championships in London.

The Jamaican said on Thursday that it was not his responsibility alone to be the "saviour" of the sport, but he is held up as just that amid the scepticism of performances caused by repeated doping scandals.


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But Coe, who is challenging Ukrainian Sergey Bubka for the presidency of the IAAF, athletics' world governing body, believes how to follow Bolt is a problem that the sport should be pleased to have.

He said: "I sort of feel as though we're sitting in a time warp here.

"If we had been sitting in Madison Square Garden in the 1960s or 70s talking about what does the world look like after Ali retired.

"It's the right thing to think about and what we need to do is to reinforce and work even harder to promote and have marketing structures in place that allow us to explain to the world that we also have some extraordinarily, outstandingly talented athletes.

"Yes, we have to redouble efforts to make sure, but it's a high-class problem. If you have a sport that has somebody that has probably globally caught the imagination like nobody since Muhammad Ali in the 70s and early 80s, then clearly this is a very good position to be in.

"In 2003, 2004, 2005 when I started to campaign on behalf of London (for the 2012 Olympics) and would go into schools in the east end of London or up in Yorkshire talking about who the heroes were of the kids, they would come out with the Federers and the Beckhams.

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"Within three seasons, they were talking about track and field and talking about Usain Bolt.

"But we also need to promote Allyson Felix, Valerie Adams and David Rudisha.

"It is really important that we point out that we are a broad-based sport with extraordinary talents in every one of those athletics disciplines."

Coe, who promised to give the IAAF presidency his full attention if voted in at the IAAF Congress in Beijing, which takes place ahead of the World Championships in just under a month's time, said his motivation was not purely a desire to rid the sport of drug cheats.

Speaking at the Olympic Stadium ahead of the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games, he said: "I don't think this is a case of sitting here being motivated by the need to clean up track and field.

"I've been involved in track and field - now I am carbon-dating myself - for very nearly half a century.

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"I joined an athletics club when I was 11, I've written about it, I've broadcasted. I've been to two Olympic Games, I've broken 11 world records.

"I have delivered with a team the most successful track and field event ever in this stadium. I think I am probably at the right point in my career to devote the next 10 productive years to making sure my sport is a strong sport.

"When in 10 years' time after two terms somebody else will then take it on, I want it to be stronger than it is today."

Coe was speaking to unveil his plan for an Olympics Athletics Dividend to all of the IAAF's 214 member federations if elected president.

This would be distributed equally and equate to at least USD 100,000 per federation over a four-year cycle, totalling around USD 22 million.

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The dividend would be funded through approximately half of the quadrennial fee received from the International Olympic Committee.

Addressing suggestions this plan could be open to corruption, Coe said: "This isn't a cheque that suddenly lands at a federation.

"We have very, very clear criteria as to how that is spent, but it is worked up in alignment with the member federation in line with what they need."

He added: "This is not back-of-a-fag-packet stuff. This has been scrutinised carefully."

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