Continental Tour Must Be Innovative and Unique – Seb Coe
World Athletics wants to see more creativity and flexibility in its Continental Tour series, with host federations encouraged to make use of the opportunity to promote “non-traditional” sports. Continental Tour must be innovative and unique – Seb Lord Coe
Following the success of the previous two editions last year and this year, Kenya will host the third Kip Keino Classic, a leg of the World Athletics (WA) Continental Tour, on May 7 next year.
The top-tier Diamond League program may not be able to fit all track and field disciplines, according to World Athletics President Seb Coe, which is why the two-year-old Continental Tour series is so important.
On a conference call with African journalists on Wednesday, Coe emphasized the need for federations to cast their nets wider and attack other disciplines rather than relying just on their staples.
He cited Jamaica as an example of a typically sprinting nation that has begun to win gold in jumps, throws, and endurance events.
“It’s critical for countries with a particular strength in some events to maintain that level of performance,” Coe added.
“However, we recognize that athletics is more than one sport.” It’s effectively 47 distinct disciplines for male and female athletes – leaps, throws, endurance, sprints – and it’s critical to keep the sport moving at about the same pace as possible.
“For many years, we’ve only known Jamaica as a sprinting powerhouse – and it still is – but we’re starting to realize they’re breaking through in field (events), jumps, and even, goodness me!, endurance events.”
“It’s vital that federations do embrace this chance off the back of their staple events that give them a global profile, to do everything they can to attract additional young people that are interested in athletics, into disciplines.”
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As a result, he believes the Continental Tour may play a significant role in fostering such variety.
“Because not every event is eligible for the Diamond League, the Continental Tour is a crucial event for us to be able to innovate into these other events as well.”
“It’s not just a matter of competition.” It’s about competitiveness, but it’s also about the types of programs that our federations offer.”
Coe praised African athletes who excelled at the Tokyo Olympics, saying that their achievements, combined with outstanding performances at the World Under-20 Championships in Nairobi, gave him faith in the sport’s future.
“I’d like to congratulate all of the African athletes who performed so spectacularly well at the Tokyo Olympics, as well as the Kenyan federation and Africa for staging an outstanding World Under-20 Championship in Nairobi, which once again demonstrated, if ever we needed a reminder, that we have very, very talented athletes coming through as rising stars, and those athletes who were celebrated in Tokyo,” he said on a conference call on Wednesday.
“That gives me a lot of hope for the future and vitality of athletics in the next years.”
Coe said he had stressed the need for diversification with Athletics Kenya, who “are anxious to ensure they are not simply focussing on the staple events that have established forever your position in history.”
“Julius Yego’s supremacy in the javelin at the 2015 World Championships (gold) and the 2016 Olympic Games (silver) demonstrates Kenya’s progress”, he said.
Even though the International Olympic Committee (IOC) just established a revised framework on the rules, the WA President was hesitant to tackle the contentious subject of differences in sex development (DSD) among athletes.
Caster Semenya of South Africa, who has been fighting for the right to compete in the 800 meters, recently took her case to the European Court of Human Rights after receiving negative decisions from both the Court of Arbitration for Sport and the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.
Basically, the European Court will now seek to discover if Swiss law is in conflict with the European Convention on Human Rights.
Coe, on the other hand, claims that WA’s views on gender issues are based on extensive research.
“Our health and science teams have been working on this for 10-15 years. “This isn’t brand-new research; it’s peer-reviewed stuff that’s been around for a long time,” Coe emphasized.
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“We have over a decade’s worth of thorough and relevant research data that has been utilized to inform our female eligibility regulations, and we’re still collecting data and collaborating on research.”
“I’m not delving into specific situations, but it’s necessary to establish some basic concepts here — World Athletics eligibility criteria are founded on the same core principles of fairness and inclusiveness that the IOC, for example, has already acknowledged.”
Coe maintained that World Athletics’ DSD restrictions were “necessarily reasonable and appropriate” in preserving fair and meaningful competition in the female division, and vowed to continue defending the federation’s position.
“Our rules aren’t going anywhere. We have supported them vehemently in the past and will continue to do so in the future because we really feel this is the most reasonable and proportionate course of action in this case.”