IAAF Council Athens - Day 2 - Report from Athens 2004 Organising Committee and other matters
Sunday 28 March 2004
Athens - On the second and final day of the IAAF Council Meeting in Athens, Council heard a number of reports from Commissions and the organisers of future events, notably the forthcoming Olympics.

Competition Progress Reports

2004 Olympic Games in Athens

Council received a detailed presentation of the overall situation of the preparations for the Olympics, particularly related to athletics, from the Sports General Manager Makis Assimakopoulos.

• Council was informed that the extensive upgrading of the marathon race route from the city of Marathon to Athens, will be completed, by 30 June at the latest. The renovation of the Panathanikos stadium, where the races will finish, is expected to be completed before June.

• The “Calatrava Roof” is considered to be an impressive statement for the Athens Olympic Games. Council was informed that the completion of the steel structure of this is scheduled for the end of April, leaving only the installation of roof panelling, electronic cabling etc to be completed before the Games begin.

• The installation of the IAAF approved Mondo track in the Olympic Stadium has already begun and will be completed in the first half of May, with the final certification expected by 16 May at latest.

• The Olympic test event for athletics will be the Greek national championships, and are scheduled for 10-12 June in the Olympic Stadium.

• Final preparations for the Shot Put events at the site of ancient Olympia, which will be heavily promoted as a showcase for Athletics, will be carried out in close co-operation with IAAF experts. The participating athletes will all be accommodated in the Olympic Academy.

• More than 153,000 volunteer requests have been received by the Olympic organizers ATHOC of which, around 47,000 will be engaged for the Games.

2004 World Juniors in Grosseto

Representatives of the 2004 World Junior Championships in Grosseto presented an exhaustive report which detailed the preparations for this upcoming event. The aim of this event is to present athletics in an attractive way but also to highlight basic educational, cultural and social values, by mobilizing the local population, as part of the European Union’s 2004 Project “Year of Education through Sport.” Not only the city of Grosseto, but the entire region of Tuscany is enthusiastic about welcoming young athletes from all over the world. Amongst many innovative promotional initiatives is the YEEW “training on line” project involving students from European schools. A group of them will be invited to Grosseto to study computers for sport, nutrition for sport and geography. Other projects will involve local kids from the age of 3 upwards in fun athletic activities linked to the natural environment.

2004 World Athletics Final in Monaco

The progress report was presented by Jean-Pierre Schoebel, who explained the determination of the Monegasque Federation to build on the success of the first edition in 2003 and to improve performance in a number of key areas. Council heard that promotion of this competition would be a priority and would target not only the Monegasque population but sports fans from the French Riviera and neighbouring regions of Italy. The organizers are planning forty grassroots level 1000m races with nearly 800 participants to open the competition, and a mass media advertising campaign.

2004 World Half Marathon Championships in New Delhi

Council heard a report and saw an accompanying video, detailing the progress of preparations for the 13th edition of the IAAF World Half Marathon in New Delhi. The city which combines the ancient and modern India, is preparing with gusto for the first ever World Half Marathon Championships to be held in Asia. There are close to 20,000 ancient monuments in the area, dating back to 900 BC, and there is a tradition of multi-cultural exchanges, which makes New Delhi an appropriate venue for a gathering of international athletes. Following recent discussions with the IAAF technical delegates, the organizers have now changed the course from a single loop to a double loop format which is preferable from technical, broadcasting and marketing perspectives. A promotion campaign, building on the success of recent mass race initiatives in Delhi, is helping to publicise distance running as a new passion amongst the Indian public.

New World Athletics City Award

Council agreed that a World Athletics City Award would be introduced. This award, which will be a special diploma, will be presented to cities which have a made a great contribution to the sport of athletics. The choice of which cities should receive this award will be made by the IAAF Advisory Board.

IAAF Marketing Strategy

A marketing strategy paper was presented by Helmut Digel, who explained that the IAAF needed to invest in order to be competitive not only as a sport but as a part of the entertainment business. Digel concluded that research must continue to find new ways to attract more people to the sport. It was important to find ways of developing a more heightened commercial sensibility without violating the core values of athletics, and increasing participation rates amongst all age groups.

The IAAF’s current strengths were underlined, including the product quality of the IAAF World Championships in Athletics, the attractiveness of elite athletes, the position of athletics in the Olympic hierarchy, financial security thanks to the guarantees provided by marketing partner Dentsu, strong marketing partners, co-operation with EBU and the IOC.

Future challenges were discussed and the core essence of the IAAF brand was highlighted as:

• Dedication to consumers
• A focus on Athletes
• Ethical and moral foundations
• Traditions
• Open minded, modern thinking
• Partnerships
• A focus on performance
• Education

Report of Medical and Anti-doping Commission

This was presented by Juan Manual Alonso. He summarized the new structure and philosophy of this new commission, which aimed to provide education not only to athletes but to all athletics support personnel. The Commission proposed new courses on Medical and Anti-doping subjects and creating a Medical area on the IAAF website, which could include official statements on supplements, youth athletics and other subjects.

Council agreed that a working group of medical specialists should be established to consider Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) requests from athletes, notably for the use of glucocortisteroids and beta-2-agonists.

Less than 1 per cent of 2003 tests were positive

A total of 3,393 Doping Controls were conducted by the IAAF in 2003, consisting of 1,246 in-competition and 2,147 out-of-competition tests (IAAF and WADA). Of these, only 120 samples were positive, significantly less than 1 per cent of the total.

Reach of EPO Tests Extended

With regard to the 2004 Testing Plan, it was agreed that there would be an increase of EPO out-of-competition testing and that EPO would be tested for, not only at all marathon doping controls but systematically for any event from 400m/400m hurdles to 100km where considered appropriate.

It was also agreed that, for world record ratifications, doping controls including EPO should be applied for 400m/400m hurdles, combined events and middle and long distance events.

IAAF Coaching Commission

A report from the Coaching Commission was made by Igor Ter-Ovanesian, who summarized the conclusions of the first ever meeting which took place in Budapest on 5 March. Council accepted that the terms of reference for the new Commission would be to:
• Raise the social status of coaches within the Athletics Family
• Create a Code of Ethics for coaches
• Promote and support the work of the Area Coaches’ Association
• Support and cooperate with the work of the IAAF Member Services Department
• Support the work of the new IAAF Academy
• Recommend candidates for coaching awards and recognition
• Publish an annual digest of Area Coaches Association conference papers
• Publish an IAAF Coaches’ Handbook
• Co-ordinate the conference themes of Area Coaches Associations
• Co-ordinate new scientific research projects
• Help to promote doping-free athletics