Drug cheats to London Games beware, warns Coe
Mumbai: Athletes aiming to cheat their way to Olympic glory through doping at the London Games next year were strictly warned today by Organising Committee chairman Sebastian Coe that they will be caught.
"Between the commitment of the International Olympic Committee, the organising committee that is chaired by an Olympian who performed on clean grounds and the very serious role the police will be taking in this, is (the message that) if you come to London and you try that, we will get you," said Coe during a worldwide teleconference from London exactly one-year before the Games` opening.
"Of course I am absolutely realistic. There will always be people in sports (who will try to cheat). It`s for us to be eternally vigilant. If you ask whether I can guarantee an entirely clean Games, the answer is no. But we will try to do whatever is in our power to make that happen," said the two-time Olympic 1,500m gold medal winner.
"Clean Games are important. Because I know from my own experience as Vice President of the international (athletics) federation, that (the fight against doping) is a permanent battle. What I can say is we will have the technology in place."
The 54-year-old former middle distance ace also said it was wrong to single out Indians as dope offenders in the wake of eight athletes flunking tests by pointing out that doping was a worldwide menace.
"Let me be clear. Doping is a global problem. As Vice President of IAAF to which I will be seeking re-election, I will use the platform and continue to wage a war against doping," said Coe, who won back-to-back gold medals in 1500m race in the 1980 (Moscow) and 1984 (Los Angeles) Games.
"A message has to be sent to young people that performance enhancing drugs are unnecessary. They are dangerous and it is also cheating. We need to educate young people that international sport is all about friendship," Coe added.
Coe also warmly welcomed all the members of the yet-to-be-decided Indian contingent to the London Games, saying a huge community from the country was waiting with a lot of expectations to see them perform.
"My grandfather was an Indian and my mother was born in Delhi. The Indian athletes would be pleased to know there is a big Indian community waiting with great expectations. There will be a home crowd to cheer every Indian participant," he said.
Saying he was a big fan of cricket, Coe said watching the archery competition unfold at the famous Lord`s ground would be great.
"I recommend all (venues) because it`s an extraordinary amount of new, temporary and permanent (ones). I am a great cricket fan. Watching archery at the home of world cricket would be of course spectacular," said Coe, who was a former world record setter in the 800m.
Coe wanted the London Games to showcase the best of things witnessed in previous Games.
"I want London to have the best of all previous Olympic Games; (such as) the spirit and humanity of Barcelona, for instance the extraordinary Coliseum of Los Angeles, the way the city of Vancouver embraced the (Winter) Games, and the attention to details for the project needs that we witnessed at Beijing."
Coe, whose rivalry in the 1980s with fellow Britons Steve Ovett and Steve Cramm lit up the athletics tracks, said confidently that London was on track to host a top class Games.
"We are fully on track, we are on schedule, we are within the budget. This is a project that is infinitely complex. We are in a very good shape (to host the Games). I am proud to say that this is an extraordinary British achievement," he said.
"We have a lot of hard work ahead. At the moment we are in testing. I recognise the value of testing as a competitor. Testing is very important.”
"We have successfully raised large sums of money and we have a world class team in place. With one year to go we look forward to the torch relay that will give the opportunity to drive the Olympic values, to spread the excitement around the UK through 8000 torch bearers covering 8000 miles," Coe added.