International Athletics

Scandals won't taint 2017 World Champs

2016-04-19 17:03

London - Recent scandals that have tarnished athletics will not overshadow the 2017 World Championships in London, the head of the event's organising committee vowed on Tuesday.

Athletics is still reeling from the two World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) independent reports that resulted in Russian athletes being banned over state-sponsored doping and revealed corruption at the top of global governing body the IAAF.

But Niels de Vos, London 2017 director and CEO of UK Athletics, told journalists in London: "It's about looking outwards, not looking inwards.

"There's still huge appetite to watch athletics in the UK and there always has been. I'm as confident as you can be, without ignoring the realities of life, that London 2017 will have exactly the same level of success (as the London 2012 Olympics).

"And the reason is, people are interested in athletics. People aren't interested in governing bodies. We are, because we work for them, or you (the media) are, because you write about them. But the public aren't.

"It's emotion, it's passion. That's why people want to come and see it, because -- excuse my language -- it's bloody amazing. It's an amazing sport to watch live."

With Russian athletes still banned and Kenya missing a succession of compliance deadlines, doping has cast a pall over the build-up to this year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

But while De Vos admits that it is "impossible to say with certainty" that London 2017 will not be tainted by doping, he says it will be "without doubt the cleanest championship ever".

De Vos was speaking after an announcement that 1.5 million tickets for the World Championships and World ParaAthletics Championships will go on sale in a ballot that will run from August 1-22 this year.

The two events are being held consecutively at London's Olympic Stadium in July and August next year.

Children's World Championships tickets will cost £9.58, in a nod to the 100 metres world record of 9.58 seconds set by Jamaican sprint superstar Usain Bolt at the 2009 event in Berlin.

"I always say that the children are the future and I commend the organisers of London 2017 on this initiative to give young people the chance to buy affordable tickets," Bolt said in a statement released by organisers.

"I hope it will inspire many of them to get into athletics and look forward to seeing many young people filling seats next summer."

Read more on:    iaaf  |  wada  |  athletics
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