Bans for failing a drug test should be increased from two to four years, says Sebastian Coe, London 2012 chairman and a vice-president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) world track and field association. “If I could bring lifetime bans in I would.”
“We have to go back from two years to four years. The move down to two did a lot of damage to my sport,” Coe told BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweek in connection with top sprinters Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell having provided positive samples.
“It is for the clean athletes. I don’t care about the cheats we weed out. These people are trashing my sport.” Concerned that people are losing faith in athletics, Coe stated: “It is depressing. Trust sits at the heart of this. “I don’t think trust is gone entirely, but it was a bad day for the sport. The big challenge here is to go on fighting, this is not a fight we can afford to lose.”
Coe believes that athletes are currently taking risks by cheating as the two-year ban does not take enough time out of their career to be a deterrent.
“But, the London 2012 organizer and current British Olympic Association (BOA) chairman knows that lifetime bans are not possible,” explains on its BBC on its homepage.
The BOA, before Coe was elected chairman, had a policy of banning any British athletes from competing in Olympic Games for life if they had previously failed a drug test. However, in April 2012, the governing body lost its battle with the World Anti-Doping Agency at the Lausanne Court of Arbitration for Sport to keep the policy.
It allowed athletes such as Dwain Chambers, who failed a drugs test in 2003, to compete at London 2012.
“If I could bring lifetime bans in I would,” Coe said. “The legal inhibitor to be able to do that is profound. We are not going to be able to have life bans, they would be challenged and when we have done it we have lost. Four years does make people think, it is a big chunk of your career but two years with appeals is often only 18 months. Too many athletes have been prepared to take the risk.”
The above article was first appeared in The Sport Intern, a blog published by Karl-Heinz Huba in Lorsch, Germany. This article is reprinted here with permission from the blog publisher. Mr. Huba can be reached via email at ISMG@aol.com.