Coe's warning to potential Olympic dopers

IAAF president Sebastian Coe has sent out a warning to would-be doping athletes

World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe has warned would-be dopers that the coronavirus pandemic and widespread suspension of competition will not shelter them from repercussions.

With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics postponed until 2021 and several other world championships needing to be rescheduled because of the crisis, athletes will face much less testing.

However Coe said that there was no chance of drug cheats slipping through the net.

"In reality, of course, there isn't much in the way of competition testing because frankly we've lost most of the competitions," Coe told Reuters.

"The only advice I would give every athlete is don't play roulette with the concept that intelligent testing is going to do anything other than track you down.

"If they choose to step beyond the boundaries we have clearly set and the Athletic Integrity Unit and World Athletics is fearless about protecting, they will come undone."

The question of whether athletes who had already qualified for the Olympics will have to do so again will also come under the microscope in the coming weeks, with 57 per cent of 11,000 or so athletes set to appear in Tokyo having booked their spots.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has not clarified whether these places are assured, although the Australian Olympic Committee said on Wednesday that its qualified athletes can compete in the delayed Games.

"We have to be really clear that qualification will be an issue for athletes, our internal teams have looked at that," said Coe.

"Even when the virus, we hope, has subsided there will still be resource implications. All I'm saying is that this is very complicated and qualification is a part of that and that is what our competition teams are looking that very closely."

Coe, who welcomed the decision to postpone the Olympics, said it will be difficult to reschedule all the postponed events, including the world championships in Oregon, which were set for 2021.

"This isn't going to happen overnight and nor should it, because it's too complicated for that to actually happen in reality," Coe added.

"We're going to have to figure out how we will get these back into our calendar without it causing a massive bottleneck.