Sebastian Coe spoke about the absence of the Russians at the next world championships
World Athletics chairman Sebastian Coe claimed it would have been “inconceivable” for the Russians to compete in this week’s World Championships amid the ongoing military operation in Ukraine.
Coe was speaking at a press conference Thursday ahead of the competition which begins Friday and runs through July 24 in Eugene, Oregon.
World Athletics banned Russian athletes in late February, following a recommendation from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which has been criticized by figures including Olympic high jump champion Maria Lasitskene.
The three-time world champion wrote an unanswered open letter to IOC President Thomas Bach last month while criticizing Coe for his stance on his country, but Coe stressed that has not changed.
“It was done from a very clear perspective, and it was about the integrity of competition,” Coe said of the original decision.
“It would have been inconceivable to have World Championships here with athletes from Belarus and Russia,” he added, calling them “two aggressive nations that have entered into an independent state.”
Coe said World Athletics was among the first federations to act on IOC advice and promised it would not change its position. “for the foreseeable future.”
He then said that receiving an update from the task force that monitors how Russia is complying with the roadmap for reintegration following a doping scandal that “I feel like it’s season 17, box set 126.”
Russians previously performed under neutral status or for the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team at competitions such as the Olympics due to sanctions stemming from the scandal, and the results of an independent audit by the Russian Federation will be presented at a World Athletics meeting in November. This means that Russian athletes should remain banned until at least that date.
This is also when changes to the rules on the participation of transgender athletes will also be considered, with Coe having already shown his support for the action of his world swimming counterpart, FINA, which in June banned all trans athletes who had participated in any stage of male puberty. process while promising to create a new “open category”.
“At the end of the day, if it’s a judgment call between inclusion and equity, we will always fall on the side of equity – that to me is non-negotiable,”Coe promised at the time to respond to the development.
On Thursday, he reiterated this, noting that while the inclusiveness “has really been a watchword,” “The balance between inclusivity and fairness will always, in my view, be on the side of fairness.”
This could mean that tougher restrictions from World Athletics are on the horizon, with Coe also previously saying the organization believes “that biology trumps gender”.
“We will continue to review our regulations accordingly. We will follow the science,”he also promised.