The IAAF held their council and congress meetings in London over the past week, at which a wide diversity of reports, discussions, changes, and congress votes were made.

The final presentation was of course relating to the World Championships which begin tonight Friday 4 August at the London Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Park with the preliminary rounds of the men 100m and finishes with the relays.
Usain Bolt will be part of both nights in his bid to earn two more gold medals as the final contribution to his list of retirement achievements.

It was therefore of little surprise that both these matters were raised in the media conference that followed.

Here are a few of the questions and answers provided by Seb Coe and his top table after the closing of the formal portion of the IAAF meetings:

Expectations for the London World Championships
IAAF President Seb Coe and LOC Chairman Ed Warner speak about the massive ticket sales that have just edged 700,000 and other aspects that will make London 2017 special

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Marathon and Walks:

For the first time both the men and women marathon will be on the same day which means spectators will be able to stay on the course to see both races.

In addition the layout of the course as four laps of 10km and then a start and finish on the Tower Bridge has resulted in spectacular viewing point being set up in the moat of the historic Tower of London.

A similar situation will apply for the walks, which also sees the introduction of the 50km walk for women, and the combination of the 20k and 50km walks on the same day.
These will be held under the shadow of Buckingham Palace and takes the walk loop up the mall – the finishing line for the annual London (city) marathon.

If nothing else this is an indication of the new look IAAF that wants to attract more spectators, expose more athletes to public and media, and to give both a better experience.

As with the restructuring of the IAAF, this is an important move, that one hopes will soon find its way into South African athletics.

What are the security and terrorism measures:
Realistically, and given this year of terrorism in the capital city, it was not surprising there are questions on safety and security.
The organizers are confident that people can be safe, but they must also be aware of what is going on around them: – President Coe and chairman Ed Warner, give brief insight to measures and risks:

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Africa – when will its time come?
Sebastian Coe is asked when the World Championships will be held in an African Country?

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Russian suspension extended
Amongst the report backs was a presentation from the working group and the Russian federation on the situation regarding the suspension due to institutionalized doping.

The federation’s presentation included an apology for what was allowed to happen and undertaking that it would not repeat, but also accepted and committed to completing the final six steps required by the working group.

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What is the expected impact of Bolts retirement

Sebastian Coe takes his Presidential hat off to talk as an athletics fan and comments on the impact that Usain Bolt has had on the sport, what he has added, and what will be lost when he retires next weekend.

The new IAAF is trying hard to provide the support to develop and expose the upcoming athletes, such that it brings benefit to the athletes and the sport.
However, Bolt is not the only great sportsman to retire and the sport will continue to survive

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Other council matters and the South African lead for change

Since Sebastian Coe was elected President there have been considerable investigation and subsequent change in the structure and implementation of IAAF matters.
The constitution was again under review with a total of 43 amendments proposed by Member Federations and Council to both the 2017 and 2019 Constitutions: 13 proposals for the 2017 Constitution and 30 proposals for the 2019 Constitution.

Apart from the editorial wording and clarifications, there was considerable discussion around appointees to the Executive Board, age limits and open voting.

· The proposal for Executive Board appointees upheld with arguments being made to have three outside experts appointed to board particularly where skills, or specific experience was lacking.

The South African representative to the council, President Aleck Skhosana, spoke on a number of occasions during the day, and surprisingly made the point that the proposed appointment of experts to the board was seen as of vital importance in his country (south africa).
This would seem to herald a new approach for ASA in the future as this is not something that has ever been done in Skhosana’s term as ASA President, nor in his time as President at KZNA, where he and his whole executive were removed in 2012. All ASA Board Members have been elected by votes at the quadrennial AGM.

· Geographical spread was agreed as guidance going forward for the Executive Board.
Not surprisingly there was considerable support for ensuring that global representation existed and this was further extended to try to ensure that no more than one person from any nation could be on the council.
The complication arose with the appointment of the representatives from the Athletes Commission which are ‘given’ to council and could therefore result in a duplication of nationalities.

· A proposal to reintroduce a 70 year age limits was not approved, with many of the original supporters withdrawing their initial support due the the better mechanism to ensure turnover by limiting the number of terms of office to three.

· In what will be of keen interest to South Africans (athletic and non athletic) the IAAF have, in the interests of total transparency, maintained the ruling that all voting must be Open.

With ASA always committed to adhering to the principle clauses of the IAAF Constitution, it seems there are going to be many new and much welcomed changes to the way athletics will be administered in South Africa in the very near future, as the South African president voted with and for most of the motions, and certainly in line for change.

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