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Track and field world records could be wiped in bid backed by Seb Coe

IAAF president Seb Coe likes a proposal to strip older track and field world records due to weak drug testing in past eras.

The European Athletic Association’s record “revolution” plan calls for the “rewriting” of track and field’s world-record list.

If an athlete set a world record, but their doping sample from the event was not stored for the next 10 years for retesting, the record would be stripped under the plan. The IAAF began saving doping samples from its championship meets in 2005.

Current world records set before 2005 include Florence Griffith-Joyner in the 100m and 200m (both in 1988) and Hicham El Guerrouj in the 1500m and the mile (1998 and 1999).

The new criteria for world records also mandates that an athlete must have been drug tested a certain number of times in the 12 months before he or she set the record. That to-be-announced number is likely to be six tests, according to the Guardian.

This could also impact recent world records, given the much-publicized lack of drug testing in recent years in countries including Jamaica and Kenya.

Also, an athlete that has a “serious breach of the rules” after setting a world record will be stripped of the record.

The plan will be considered at an IAAF council meeting in August, according to European Athletics.

“I like this because it underlines that we [the governing bodies] have put into place doping control systems and technology that are more robust and safer than 15 or even 10 years ago,” IAAF president Seb Coe said, according to a press release. “There will be athletes, current record holders, who will feel that the history we are recalibrating will take something away from them, but I think this is a step in the right direction, and if organized and structured properly, we have a good chance of winning back credibility in this area.”

Under the proposal, the four-time Olympic medalist Coe would presumably be stripped of his European 1000m record since it was set in 1981, before doping samples began being stored for retesting.

If a record is stripped under the proposal, nobody will be upgraded to be the new world-record holder. Rather, an unspecified limit would be set for a new record to be established at a future date.

“Performance records that show the limits of human capabilities are one of the great strengths of our sport, but they are meaningless if people don’t really believe them,” European Athletics president Svein Arne Hansen said in a press release. “What we are proposing is revolutionary, not just because most world and European records will have to be replaced, but because we want to change the concept of a record and raise the standards for recognition a point where everyone can be confident that everything is fair and above board.

“It’s a radical solution for sure, but those of us who love athletics are tired of the cloud of doubt and innuendo that has hung over our records for too long.”

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