Bengaluru, August 30: The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Sebastian Coe admitted that that the sport's ' global governing body was "crumbling" when he took over four years ago, but insists progress has been made on Russian doping and levelling the female playing field by forcing athletes such as Caster Semenya to regulate their testosterone levels.
"We've covered a lot of ground, there's no question about that. Some of it because I wanted to make changes... and some of it, I openly admit, was forced upon us," Coe told AFP news agency in Zurich on the sidelines of the IAAF Diamond League final.
"We've made a mountain of changes such as a proper constitution to meet modern demands. The centrepiece of that was the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU), really the first of its kind in international sport, and that's working very well," added Coe.
The double Olympic champion from Britain took over as IAAF chief from the now-disgraced Senegalese Lamine Diack during a very turbulent period in 2015. Diack's 16-year reign had ended in chaos amid accusations that he and his son obstructed sanctions against Russia for doping in return for payments.
The IAAF suspended Russia in November, 2015, after the allegations of state involvement in doping emerged and Russian track and field athletes were banned from competing under their own flag at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The country was re-admitted to the Olympic fold last year, but the IAAF continues to ban Russian athletes from competing in their national colours. "I see the first four years as being a process of change, time for change, and we needed to do that," said Coe.
Meanwhile, the IAAF World Relays will head to Europe for the first time in 2021, with the Polish region of Silesia confirmed as host of the fifth edition of the biennial event.
The newest addition to the IAAF's World Athletics Series, the World Relays were held in the Bahamian capital of Nassau for the first three editions, while this year's event was held in the Japanese city of Yokohama.
"Poland is one of our most active member federations and has a deserved reputation for delivering excellent athletics events and attracting big crowds, so I'm delighted that we will be bringing another of our World Athletics Series events there in less than two years from now," said Coe.