The World Olympians Association (WOA) has criticized proposals to reset world records and claims that it will do nothing but punish innocent athletes.
The European Athletics' Records Credibility Project Team recently proposed that world records set by 2005 could be erased.
The controversial proposals to “recalibrate” world records set before 2005 was termed as “very bold” by International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) chief executive Olivier Gers. Gers said he agreed with the comment of IAAF President Sebastian Coe that the new idea is “a step in the right direction". Gers said he would definitely share Seb’s enthusiasm for the proposal and added but we are still talking about what is a recommendation from European Athletics, which we will examine at the IAAF Council meeting in London on July 31 ahead of the World Championships.
WOA President Joël Bouzou remarked the World Olympians Association is committed to ensuring that all athletes are treated as innocent until proven otherwise. Bouzou commented that we must question as a result the recommendations made by European Athletics to reset any world or European record that was held by an athlete who has not met their proposed criteria. The WOA Chief also said that the criteria recommended by European Athletics have a very wide reach, and seem likely to affect many clean athletes, inevitably leading to innocent record holders being stripped of their achievements.
Bouzou also said the WOA affirms that strong punishment must be enacted on anyone engaged in doping activities, and is universally committed to stamping doping out of sport, but is also driven to protect clean athletes. The President of WOA also said their association feels that these recommendations are unfair to clean athletes and do nothing to strengthen the fight against doping.
The WOA has proposed a three-point plan in the fight against cheating in sport through doping. The plan includes a permanent mechanism to ensure clean athletes can compete even if their sport, Government, or National Olympic Committee is sanctioned. It also proposed that there should be an anti-doping system that is totally independent of Federations, Governments, and event organizers. The WOA proposals also include increased funding for anti-doping to stay ahead of the cheats.
A big majority of athletes who would be affected by the proposals of the European Athletics' Records Credibility Project Team, led by Pierce O'Callaghan, have come out in opposition against the plan. The list includes Britain's Paula Radcliffe, who would lose her marathon world record of 2 hours 15min 25sec, set in 2003. Others who would be affected include United States' Mike Powell, whose long jump mark of 8.95m dates back to 1991 and Bulgaria's Stefka Kostadinova, whose women's high jump record of 2.09 meters was set in 1987.
WOA claims to represent more than 100,000 athletes who have competed at an Olympics for their country. Its stance is consistent with the one they adopted before Rio 2016. The World Olympians Association claimed that it would not be fair to issue a blanket ban on Russian athletes after the McLaren Report. The WADA-commissioned independent report claimed that Russia was operating a state-sponsored doping system.
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