World Athletics will resume competition with participant health in view, says Lord Coe

New Delhi, June 12:

World Athletics will focus on ensuring that athletes get back in training and to competition, safely and in a way that prevents the outbreak (of COVID-19), its President Lord Sebastian Coe said. He was inaugurating a five-day South Asian Athletics Federation-Athletics Federation of India online seminar for women technical officials on Friday.

“Athletics activities have been suspended in the last few months, but we are gradually getting back. I know it is a very varied landscape. Some of our continental associations are find their way back with a little bit more ease. There are very big challenges in other areas. Our Health and Science Department is working towards ensuring good health and well-being of the athletes,” he said.

He lauded the resilience of the member federations of World Athletics. “You have been strong while we build momentum to our competitions, which we hope will be up and running by the end of August,” he said.

“A large part of our roadmap is to create better partnerships with the people in our sport, including technical officials, volunteers, parents, athletes and stakeholders. The importance of making sure that while we are encouraging technical officials, we are also encouraging women to take up that role and make a massive contribution. This is a powerful step in the right direction,” he said.

Lord Coe said nothing was more important than the key element in World Athletics reforms that recognise the importance of having women in all our governance structures. “We have led the way in the work that we have been undertaking in the World Athletics Council and our Area Associations,” he said.

Calling the groundbreaking seminar, which has more than 900 registrations, the largest online seminar with focus on women in track and field sport, Lord Coe complimented SAAF President Dr. Lalit K Bhanot and AFI President Adille J Sumariwalla for being leaders in technical education of officials in World Athletics, particularly in the times of COVID-19.

“It has taken extraordinary efforts to remain connected and remain collaborative. I would like to compliment AFI and SAAF for being so imaginative in the way we have all been kept together,” he said. “Your footprint are going way beyond the region, with officials from Oceania and Europe also joining with the Asian family. This is a unique effort and I applaud this.”

AFI President Adille Sumariwalla said it was the World Athletics President Lord Coe’s vision to have women play an equal role in the conduct of the sport. “I am glad that we are leaders in this direction, empowering the women technical officials in the region to upgrade the knowledge that can  and enhance their participation in the conduct of competitions at various levels,” he said.

SAAF President Dr. Bhanot said the content of the seminar would surely help the women technical officials enhance their knowledge. “This seminar becomes important for us to be ready to meet the vision of World Athletics President Lord Coe in ensuring that there would equal participation by women technical officials in the conduct of competitions,” he said.