Sebastian Coe announces he will run for IAAF presidency

Lord Sebastian Coe
If selected, Lord Coe would succeed Senegalese Lamine Diack as president

Sebastian Coe is to run for presidency of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) next year.

The double-Olympic 1500m champion has been a vice-president of the body that governs world athletics since 2007.

Having led the team that staged the acclaimed London 2012 Games, Lord Coe has been widely tipped to become the most powerful man in world athletics.

Coe has made no secret of his desire to succeed Senegalese Lamine Diack, 80, who is stepping down after 16 years.

The 58-year-old former middle-distance runner, who won his gold medals at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, said his manifesto would "highlight the importance of our sport".

Coe has been credited with helping to secure an athletics legacy at London's Olympic stadium. Its running track will be kept after Premier League West Ham move into the venue in 2016.

Lord Coe the athlete
During a distinguished athletics career, Lord Coe won four Olympic medals - including 800m silvers in 1980 and 1984 - and set 11 world records in middle distance track events. His rivalry with fellow Britons Steve Ovett and Steve Cram dominated middle-distance running during the 1980s.

If elected IAAF president, the current chairman of the British Olympic Association will be expected to provide leadership for the most popular Olympic sport at a crucial time. Challenges would include falling TV audiences, competition for sponsors and spectators from rival sports like football, and the threat of regular doping scandals.

Coe would also join a growing list of British administrators at the helm of global sports bodies, such as Sir Craig Reedie at the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada), Sir Philip Craven at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and Brian Cookson at the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).

"I want us to have a renewed focus on engagement with young people and a real understanding of the global landscape that is shaping the next generation of athletes and fans," said Coe.

"If we are guided by these principles as we review and reform our sport then I am convinced that athletics can enter a new era with confidence and ensure a bright and exciting future."

Coe recently defended the IAAF's controversial decision to award Doha the right to host the 2019 World Athletics Championships.

Regarded as the front-runner, he is expected to be challenged by fellow vice-president Sergey Bubka, Ukraine's world pole vault record holder.

The BBC understands that Coe, a former Conservative MP, has now ruled himself out of a possible bid to succeed Boris Johnson as London mayor.

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