Doha Championships 'the best ever': Coe
October 03 2019 12:02 AM
Britain's Dina Asher-Smith celebrates winning gold in Women's 200 Metres Final at Khalifa Internatio
Britain's Dina Asher-Smith celebrates winning gold in Women's 200 Metres Final at Khalifa Internatio


International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) President Sebastian Coe has described the World Championships currently being held in Doha as the best ever and the performances top level.

"I can't remember a World championships actually that has delivered at this level for a long time," Coe said playing down reports of poor fan attendance and vowing to continue to seek out new territories to stage the championships in future.

He also cited the example of Tuesday's 800m final won by Donavan Brazier and Monday's 400m hurdles battle won by Norway's Karsten Warholm as sterling performances by star athletes at the Doha venue.

The IAAF championships are being staged in the Middle East for the first time.

Global athletics chief Coe insisted that the quality of the performances on the track had outshone the issue of the attendance and declared the world championships in Doha a big success.

USA's Grant Holloway crosses the finish line to win the Men's 110 Hurdles final at the 2019 IAAF Athletics World Championships 

"We want a full stadium and that has to be the challenge but we need to focus also on the absolute quality of what we are seeing here," he said.

Crowds have improved since last weekend, with more fans filling seats on Monday and Tuesday's sessions.

Coe added that the championships had also been affected by the regional tensions, which have seen Qatar subjected to a blockade by its neighbours.

"It was always going to be a challenge and this is a country that has to deal with a set of circumstances that none of us foresaw five years ago when Qatar was given the chance of hosting it," Coe said.

He meanwhile said that the IAAF would continue to seek out new venues for the championships rather than rotating through traditional European strongholds of track and field.

Men's Hammer Throw Gold medallist Poland's Pawel Fajdek, silver medallist France's Quentin Bigot and bronze medallist Hungary's Bence Halasz celebrate

"If we're a global sport, we have to be seen as global," he said.

"It can't keep going back to the same eight or nine places that we've always sort of focused on in the past.

"There are places which are going to take longer for us to go to but people have to believe this sport is theirs, it's not just rooted in a handful of European capitals."

Coe highlighted that 28 countries, plus two Russians competing as neutrals, have medalled in Doha.

The two-time Olympic 1,500-metre champion said that many athletes are happy to be in Doha, and the medical services and water supplies at the road events were first class — something he hopes will also be in place at next year's Tokyo Olympics.

Asked whether the first worlds in the Middle East could be a stepping stone for other regions and countries yet to host them such as Jamaica, Kenya or Ethiopia, he said: "I hope one day.

"There's a responsibility on us as a federation, and this is part of the process," Coe said.

The IAAF president said Qatar has a long history of athletics. He said he came to Qatar in the mid-1990s and found athletics was part of the curriculum.

"Qatar is the only country in the world to dedicate a day as Sports Day and the country has hosted one of the best editions of the World Athletics Championships in 2010."

In response to questions about the suspension of US coach Alberto Salazar, the IAAF President said the suspension will not affect the course of the World Championship currently taking place in Doha, calling on the athletes at the same time to choose their coaches very carefully.

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