MOSCOW — Usain Bolt leads an overwhelming majority of clean athletes, and a series of recent doping cases is not damaging athletics, the president of the ruling body IAAF, Lamine Diack, says.
Diack told DPA in an email interview ahead of Saturday’s start of the IAAF World Championships in Moscow that the IAAF has been a pioneer in the fight against substance abuse and will continue to take appropriate measures against offenders.
American 100 metres season leader Tyson Gay and former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell recently failed tests, and so did Powell’s Jamaican compatriot sprinters Veronica Campbell-Brown and Sherone Simpson.
But Diack, an 80-year-old Senegalese who has presided over the IAAF since 1999, is not worried about the state of the sprint or the Olympic showcase sport in general.
“I do not believe that any doping issue ‘severely damages’ either the World Championships or the sport of athletics because we are completely committed to fighting doping and have been at the forefront of the fight against doping for decades now,” Diack said.
“We have a serious, committed and successful anti-doping campaign which aims to have a sport which is worthy of athletes who play by the rules. So every positive case does not damage our sport, but it makes it stronger.
Diack named the fight against doping as “an eternal one” and added “The absolute majority of athletes are clean, but those who aren’t are news.”