Medical records leak was unacceptable, says Coe
World athletics chief Sebastian Coe said on Tuesday the recent leakage of athletes’ personal medical information by hackers group Fancy Bears, which also appeared to link elite Kenyan athletes to doping, was unacceptable.
Addressing a news conference in the Kenyan capital on the eve of the Under-18 world athletics championships, the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president said the leakage should not be interpreted as proof of doping.
“Everybody is entitled to private medical information and it is unacceptable that this should find its way to public domain,” Coe told reporters.
He also said one reading of an athlete’s biological passport did not constitute wrongdoing or an infringement.
“It might have been taken out of context and very misleading,” Coe said.
Among Kenyans whose personal medical records were leaked by the global hackers are three-times world 1,500 metres champion Asbel Kiprop and javelin world champion and Olympic silver medallist Julius Yego.
British distance runner Mo Farah, a four-times Olympic gold medallist, was also a victim of the hack.
Coe denied that athletics is losing its popularity, saying that tickets for next month’s world championships in London had sold out quickly.
“But we must do everything we can to remain relevant and salient in the lives of young people,” he said.
“We have upgraded technology and adopted creative ways of telling our narrative to improve presentation of our sport.”
Earlier Coe expressed his optimism that Kenya would host a wonderful track and field event reminiscing his days as an athlete.
“This is a very big moment in the history of Kenyan athletics,” said Coe. “So much of my career as an athlete was defined by great races and great competitions with Kenyan athletes. Kenyan athletes have made a huge mark on global sport, way before I become a senior international athlete. Your history is our history; our history is your history.
“These championships are an extraordinary opportunity to watch talent and champions of the future,” added Coe. “It is through these championships that Usain Bolt and Allyson Felix and other greats have emerged. There’s no reason why we won’t see more jewels of the future throughout this week.
David Saruni, one of two Kenyan athletes hoping for a medal in the boys’ 400m hurdles, is motivated by the host nation’s rapid rise in the discipline.
“Kenya is known for the 3000m steeplechase, but we want to add another technical event,” he said. “Our athletes have done well at the IAAF World Championships, which inspired me to run the 400m hurdles.”
Saruni also spoke of his own ambitions and Kenya’s hopes of topping the medals table after they finished second at the IAAF World U18 Championships Cali 2015.
“Individually I am well prepared to race, and I’m ready to bring Kenya a gold medal,” he said. “As a team we are well prepared physically. There is an expectation to claim the title, and it would be a privilege to be able to win the title as the hosts.”
Sources: Reuters and IAAF
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