UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner (headpicture) believes the “pace of change remains too slow” in the fight against doping in the sport.
Warner’s claim came as the governing body launched a “Clean Athletics” brand, with the aim of reinforcing UK Athletics’ commitment to athletes competing free from performance-enhancing drugs.
It follows the publication in January 2016 of “A Manifesto for Clean Athletics”, which called for a wide-ranging debate about measures that could be introduced to achieve a new era of clean athletics.
The sport has been dogged in recent times by damaging headlines and reports highlighting Russian state-sponsored doping.
Russian athletes have been banned from competing by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) since November 2015, while the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) banned Russia from taking part at Rio 2016.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC), however, rejected a call from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in July for a blanket ban on Russian athletes participating at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
They instead gave individual International Federations the power to determine eligibility in their particular sport, leading to a period of conflict between the IOC and WADA.
Warner said last year saw a “seismic change in the way athletics responded to doping in sport“, adding the stances taken by both the IAAF for athletics and the IPC on behalf of all Paralympic sports could be seen as a “turning point”.
He also said seeing National Federations, such as Ethiopia, announce that they will start imposing lifetime bans on drug cheats was “another step in the right direction”.
But Warner believes there is “still much to do“.
“Overall, we are concerned that the pace of change remains too slow, in spite of the Russian situation and the spotlight it shed on WADA and its relationship with the IOC last summer,” Warner, who is due to be replaced by chair-elect Richard Bowker in January 2018, said.
“There remains too much denial in too many quarters, but we will continue to work to make progress in the areas we can.
“Finally we are using this one year on moment to launch our own Clean Athletics brand and would urge other sports to follow suit to remain focused on what they want to achieve.”
POSSIBLE RESETTING OF RECORDS
UK Athletics have highlighted steps that have been taken since the publication of “A Manifesto for Clean Athletics“, within which 14 proposals were made.
Last year, the national governing body called for all world records to be scrapped and started again in the wake of the doping crisis within the sport.
They have pointed to the announcement last week that European Athletics will be setting up a task-force to look into possible resetting of records as evidence of this in action.
MINIMUM BAN FOR 8 YEARS.
UK Athletics also suggested extending minimum bans for serious doping offences to eight years in order to ensure athletes who chose to use prohibited substances miss two Olympic and Paralympic cycles, while proposing life bans in “appropriate cases“.
They highlight that other Federations, such as Ethiopia, have since either announced or are currently working on their own system of ensuring lifetime bans.
As part of its rebrand, UK Athletics’ anti-doping department will be renamed “Clean Athletics”.
The governing body suggests other anti-doping agencies should do the same to “emphasise the ultimate purpose of their activities”.
When UK Athletics proposals were published last year, authorities were already aware of alleged widespread doping in Russia with the country provisionally suspended from international competition.
Since then, a report delivered by the WADA Independent Commission and its chairman, Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren, found that around 1,000 Russians had doping samples manipulated and tampered with between 2011 and 2015 at events including the 2014 Winter and Paralympic Games in Sochi.