Source: www.insidethegames.biz

By: Duncan Mackay

July 23 - Sebastian Coe has dropped his biggest hint yet that he plans to challenge for the top job in athletics after he finishes organising the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Britain's double Olympic 1500 metres has long been tipped to replace Lamine Diack as the President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) when the Senegalese steps down.

"My focus post-2012 will be track and field, absolutely," Coe told Reuters in an interview.

"There's no question about that.

"I am standing [again] for the [IAAF] vice-presidency [at the World Championships] in Daegu and I am very clear that track and field is the reason I will stay in sport.

"There aren't that many other reasons.

"That will be my primary focus after 2012."

A sign of Coe's commitment was, that despite his busy schedule at London 2012, he is this weekend attending the European Junior Championships in Tallin, the Estonian capital, watching the stars of tomorrow.

Diack had originally claimed that he would step down this year following the completition of his latest four-year term as IAAF President but subsequently changed his mind and will stand again in Daegu next month.

He will be unopposed after Coe and another potential challenger, Ukraine's former 1988 Olympic pole vault champion Sergey Bubka (pictured right with Coe), stepped back from putting themselves forward.

Coe is one of six candidates chasing four vice-president positions in Daegu, where he will be up against Bubka, Qatar's Dahlan Al-Hamad, America's Robert Hersh, Canada's Abby Hoffman and Kenya's Isaiah Kiplagat.

It is widely assumed that the candidate who polls the most votes will be appointed as the senior vice-president which will put them in the best position to take over from Diack if he fails to complete his full four-year term or when he finally steps down.

Coe, 54, though, insists that he has made no decision about whether to stand for President in the 2015 at the IAAF Congress in Beijing, even though the position comes with guaranteed membership of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

"No, of course not," said Coe when asked by Reuters whether he would stand.

"But I have the support of the President to stand for the vice-presidency.

"He was very generous in saying four years ago that 'your responsibility to my sport is to deliver a great athletics championship in London and I want you to focus on that and then we will talk about the future'."

But there is no doubt that Coe will be just as focussed on achieving his ambitions in the boardroom as he was on the track, where he also won an Olympic silver and bronze medals and set 12 world records.

"I came out of Moscow [1980] and I was immediately thinking Los Angeles [1984]

"I came out of Beijing [2008] and I'm thinking London in four years' time.

"I do have that competitors' instinct that a year out, where was I mentally and physically a year out from the Games as a competitor?

"The art is to recognise that you have game plans as a competitor, you never go into a race without a game plan."


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