By Duncan Mackay

Sebastian Coe has announced officially that he is to stand for the Presidency of the IAAF ©Getty ImagesSebastian Coe today officially confirmed that he is to stand to become the next President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).


The decision by the 58-year-old double Olympic gold medallist to put himself forward to replace Lamine Diack when the Senegalese retires after holding the position for 16 years had been widely expected but ends speculation that Coe may have run instead for the Mayor of London.

Coe, the IAAF vice-president, will start the campaign as overwhelming favourite following his successful spell as the chairman of London 2012, an event regarded as the most successful Olympics and Paralympics in history. 

His only competitor is expected to be Ukraine's world pole vault record holder Sergey Bubka. 

"For as long as I can remember, I have woken knowing that athletics, in some way, would shape my day," said Coe, winner of the Olympic 1500 metres at Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles. 

"As a young boy, running was the thing that I loved beyond anything else and I have been hugely fortunate that athletics has been at the centre of my life ever since.

"As I speak to friends and colleagues around our great sport I appreciate that we are entering a very important time for athletics and that it is the right time to open up a discussion about the future.

"That discussion needs to focus on how we build on the many achievements of recent years, recognise that we have new challenges in a new era and how we can tackle those challenges with vision and ambition.

"I believe I have something to offer to that debate and it is why I am today officially announcing my candidacy for the Presidency of the IAAF."

Sebastian Coe is seen as the favourite to become the next IAAF President and replace Senegalese Lamine Diack, whose held the position since 1999 ©Getty ImagesSebastian Coe is seen as the favourite to become the next IAAF President and replace Senegalese Lamine Diack, whose held the position since 1999 ©Getty Images

Coe, who is also set eight outdoor and three indoor world records, including, in 1979, setting three world records in the space of 41 days, has hired Vero Communications to help run his campaign.

Vero, the company founded by Mike Lee, the former communications director of London 2012, were behind Brian Cookson's successful campaign last year to replace Pat McQuaid as President of the International Cycling Union. 

Coe, a former Conservative MP, holds several other key roles in sport, including chairman of the British Olympic Association and as a member of the European Olympic Committees Executive Committee.

He is also a member of the International Olympic Committtee's Coordination Commission for Tokyo 2020.

Coe, executive chairman of CSM Sport and Entertainment, is also global advisor to Nike and also works with Chelsea Football Club, as well as being a columnist for The Daily Telegraph.

But he has promised that if he is elected to become the first British IAAF President since Lord Burghley, the 1928 Olympic 400m hurdles champion who held the position from 1946 to 1976, then he will devote himself to that role.

Sebastian Coe won two Olympic 1500 metres gold medals during his career, including at Los Angeles 1984 ©Getty ImagesSebastian Coe won two Olympic 1500 metres gold medals during his career, including at Los Angeles 1984 ©Getty Images
 
"Throughout all my sporting roles I have always put the interest of athletics first and been independent enough to do the right thing for our sport," said Coe.

"This will be my approach in the campaign and, in full partnership with the Member Federations, it will be the cornerstone of my Presidency if granted the great honour of being elected IAAF President.

"I will set out my detailed proposals for athletics and the IAAF when I publish my manifesto.

"It will highlight the importance of our sport embracing innovation and change as we move forward. 

"I want us to have a renewed focus on engagement with young people and a real understanding of the global landscape that is shaping the next generation of athletes and fans.

"If we are guided by these principles as we review and reform our sport then I am convinced that athletics can enter a new era with confidence and ensure a bright and exciting future."

The IAAF is due to elect a successor to Diack on the eve of next year's World Championships during its Congress at the China National Convention Centre in Beijing on August 18 to 20, where all 213 National Federations will have a vote. 

Contact the writer of this story at duncan.m[email protected]


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