Monday 27 March 2017
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Doha, 28 October 2016 - Asian Athletics Associations supports the general principles of Sebastian Coe’s proposal for governance structure reforms, AAA President Dahlan Al Hamad stated at a post Council Meeting press conference in Doha on Friday (October 28).

Asia’s top athletics officials, representing more than 40 nations, debated on the reform plans personally presented by IAAF President Sebastian Coe at the 85th AAA Council meeting held in Doha and agreed to be aligned with the reforms. Nevertheless, Asian Athletics governing body decided to urgently establish a committee to further discuss the proposal. Another AAA committee will also create a short-term execution plan for the evaluation of the events in the region and for developing the athletics within Asia over the next three years.

“Our sport came through a troubled period, which made people cast doubts over the athletics’ ability to survive the hazard. The response though was swift as we all witnessed at the Rio Olympics, with large crowds and top level competition.

“We would like to thank Sebastian Coe for being here with us to clarify his proposal, which aims to further promote the sport worldwide. This project will affect the future of athletics. We discussed about all positive and negative aspects of the reforms in order to come up with the proper decision.

“It is plain to see that the new structure gives more power and prerogatives to the Assembly, while the power of individual officials is diminished,” explained Al Hamad, who thanked in his introduction, QOC President Sheikh Joann bin Hamad Al Thani for hosting such a crucial for athletics meeting in Doha.

Lord Coe’s reform proposal redefines roles and responsibilities and aims for a greater voice for athletes, a better gender balance, as well as for independent anti-doping, integrity and disciplinary functions.

“We back President’s plan and totally support his presidency. Some Area representation-wise issues are still under discussions. We raised some concerns, which are minor and will surely be resolved. We will go along with the reforms and we will try to adapt,” added Al Hamad.

In regards to the development of athletics in Asia, AAA President commented: 

“We have managed to keep our partners and sponsors warm, or even attract new to support our activities, such as the Marathons. 

“Within our plans is to attract the new generation with a new programme in collaboration with Ministries of Education in order to identify talents that will emerge in the near future. Our initiatives rely on the “Kids Athletics” programme – which not only help in promoting Athletics, but generally guides children in the world of sports. Any plan not aiming at the new generation has no hope or future.”

“Last year we introduced the first ever Asian Youth Championships in Doha, giving youngsters from all nations the chance to make their international debut. The success of the Doha initiative encouraged more countries to ask for hosting the event. We are now in talks with broadcasters to secure full TV coverage.”

“Sixty percent of the world’s youth population lives in Asia, but we have to implement the proper programme in order to help them develop and achieve better results.”

Talking about the ongoing fight against doping President Al Hamad stressed that extra action of all concerned parties needs to be taken:

“UN and other organisations are supporting the anti-doping fight. Most nations have introduced new anti-doping legislation, but we mustn’t be complacent. President’s reform proposal includes the formation of a new independent Athletics Integrity Unit. We have to give them freedom and time to work on the anti-doping issue.”