Coe discusses adding China meetup as part of track condition interview
With athletics adding another Diamond League event in China, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe addressed human rights issues in the country during his State of Sport Zoom meeting on Tuesday.
The Diamond League, an annual series of track and field competitions, confirmed earlier today that it will host an event in the Chinese city of Shenzhen on August 6, in addition to an event a week earlier in Shanghai.
The announcement comes following the suspension of Women’s Tennis Association tournaments in the country over concerns over Peng Shuai, the Chinese tennis star who, in a social media post in November, was attributed to her. , accusing a former senior Communist Party official of forcing her to have sex. In a video posted by Lianhe Zaobao, a Singaporean Chinese-language newspaper, Shuai recently denied claiming to have been sexually assaulted.
“We are, of course, concerned about the well-being of all athletes,” Coe said. “I believe that all athletes should be free to voice their concerns and sports should never hesitate to make these points known. But it’s always better to have an open dialogue and sporting relations than to raise the drawbridge. Very few other sectors choose to do so. Sport has always played a very important role in skillful diplomacy which has historically proven to be very effective at times. “
He added that he was “philosophically opposed” to boycotts in sport. As a middle distance runner for Great Britain, Coe won the 1,500-meter at the 1980 Moscow Summer Games after the Americans carried out a boycott. He won the 1500m again at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles when the Soviet Union boycotted it.
“They tend not to achieve what they set out to do,” Coe said. “Diplomatic boycotts, although they don’t really have an impact on the athlete, are not really particularly strong gestures.
“It is really important that the Diamond League has a foot in all of our great athletic nations,” he added. “You make all kinds of balances and judgments when you look at your competition schedule and your lineup. We consider it an important part of our sport. “
During the Zoom call, Coe also spoke about how next summer was a golden opportunity to expand the track’s footprint in America with the World Championships being held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. It is the first time that the largest track competition outside the Olympics will be held in the United States.
It’s a chance to make yourself known with the 2028 Olympics being held in Los Angeles. It’s also an opportunity to introduce the next generation of American stars such as teenage sprinter Erriyon Knighton and Tokyo Games 800m champion Athing Mu.
“The trail is really starting now,” Coe said.
Coe noted that there were no plans to increase the number of events for runners with Differences in Sexual Development (DSD). Two-time Olympic 800-meter champion Caster Semenya of South Africa did not compete in Tokyo due to World Athletics’ testosterone rules. Semenya tried to qualify late for Tokyo in the 5,000, an event unaffected by hormone regulations, but was unsuccessful.
“We have always made it clear that our regulations are still under review,” Coe said. “The reality is that we have always made it clear that while during these reviews there is overwhelming evidence that certain other events are massively affected, so that they alter the integrity of sport and in particular the general principle of protect women’s sport, women’s sport, then we have to be clear about the potential, but there is nothing at the moment.
Coe also touched on the larger-than-life character of retired Jamaican sprinter and world record holder Usain Bolt – and how difficult it is to replace him.
“You are not going to replace Usain Bolt,” he said. “Usain Bolt is Usain Bolt.”
Instead, World Athletics draws on a host of exciting personalities such as Norway’s Karsten Warholm and American Sydney McLaughlin, who each set 400 hurdles world records in Tokyo.
“We don’t depend on just one key figure,” Coe said. “So spreading the joy, a little wider and a little deeper, I think it’s good for the sport. I think it’s good for the competition. I think it’s good for the fans.
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