Ryon Jones, Gleaner Writer
Speaking during his last term in office at the helm of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), President Lamine Diack reiterated his desire to see track and field retain its position as the number-one Olympic sport.
The sport's world governing body, which will be celebrating its centenary next year, launched a three-day session yesterday at the Fairmont Hotel in Monaco.
"We all need to think about what we can and should bring to our sport, on both an individual and a collective basis, to help it to make the progress that is necessary if it is to continue to enjoy its place as the primary Olympic sport," Diack, who has been vice-president or president of the federation for the past 35 years, warned in a release that summarised the day's proceedings.
"I would like to substantially change the way in which we function, improve our management methods, fundamentally reform the format of our competitions, significantly streamline our calendar, improve the breadth of coverage of our competitions and increase our financial stability, as well as strengthen the commitment of each of our area associations and member countries to the IAAF," he added.
One thing that Diack believes is important in maintaining the image of the sport is to continue the fight against doping. He hailed the body's introduction of biological passports as proof that there is a strong desire to eliminate this scourge.
"We should also put into place any measures that are needed in order to strengthen the fight against age manipulation among athletes, which represents a particularly serious affliction that we cannot tolerate any longer," Diack expressed.
The opening day also saw the introduction of the IAAF's new general secretary, Essar Gabriel, who replaced the outgoing Pierre Weiss.