Canadian sprinting legend Donovan Bailey has called on the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to “press reset” on all records in the sport which have been tainted by doping while admitting his frustration that track and field athletes are not given the headlines they deserve due to the ongoing drugs scandal.
Bailey, who won the Olympic gold medal in the 100 meters at Atlanta 1996 in a world record time and was part of the victorious 4x100m relay team at the Games, also backed the stance taken by the IAAF in banning all but one Russian from competing at Rio 2016.
The 48-year-old, regarded as one of the greatest sprinters of all time, gave a frank and honest assessment of the current state of the sport of athletics and believes more must be done to ensure superb achievements by track and field competitors are not overshadowed by doping headlines.
“It is crazy that we have such incredible stars, and legends of the sport and guys who have done incredible things and we are having a conversation about doping,” Bailey, who is the President of the Golden Podium awards jury, said here.
“I think the IAAF has to do something to ensure doping is not the first thing you speak of.
“I think for one you should press reset and get rid of all the records which were on the books if there has been a doping issue.
“If there is a doping charge, you erase it – it becomes very simple – so that we can talk about amazing positive things because there is so much to talk about, like Wayde van Niekerk and Usain Bolt.
“Obviously it is news and you have to report the news but you never hear as much negative news in other sports as track and field.
“It gets frustrating sometimes that some of the most incredible athletes in our sport have to share the platform with negative news like doping.”
The issue has attached itself to the sport of athletics after a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Independent Commission report in November uncovered a state-sponsored doping scheme in Russia, leading to the suspension of the All-Russia Athletic Federation from international competition.
As a result, Russian track and field athletes were prohibited from taking part at August’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Long jumper Darya Klishina was the only member of the Russian athletics squad at the Games after she proved she adhered to strict eligibility criteria laid down by the IAAF.
Bailey, world 100m champion in Gothenburg in 1995 and a two-time World Championships gold medalist in the 4x100m relay, insists the IAAF took the right action over Russia and feels any country where a proven state-sponsored doping scheme is found should face the toughest possible sanctions.
“I absolutely agree with Seb [IAAF President Coe],” the Canadian added.
“My stance would be any country that has been accused of and found guilty of state-wide doping, all the athletes should be banned.
“It is a terrible thing to do because most athletes are clean and believe in the power of clean sport.
“But it is unfair for a clean athlete to lose sponsorship money, prize money and medals to someone who has doped.
“The WADA, the International Olympic Committee and the IAAF need to get together and run a tighter ship and in doing so they will make sure that if someone decides to dope you can penalize the maximum.”
By Liam Morgan
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.