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Track And Field Records Reset Proposal

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The European Records Credibility Project Team has made a final report. This group was endorsed by European track and filed officials because of many issues related to doping and records set by those who have tested positive for such drugs. The report starts with a quote attributed to John Lydgate, a monk and poet of the 14th century. The quote reads “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

Main Requirement Change

The main move for the most part would see all the records before 2005 eliminated from record status. The idea has been endorsed by The European Athletics Council and the International Association of Athletics Federations will now take it into consideration. This idea has caused strong reaction from many based on how radical the move appears and the proposal has created contrast perspectives.

Credibility is a big issue and this is clear from a statement made by the European board that says “If there is suspicion that a record was not achieved fairly or the conditions were somehow not correct, people become skeptical or worse they ignore it.”

In this case however, if the records had to be removed as such, the times for those periods will still remain even if they are not acknowledged as current world records.

Critics think the IAAF should take a more surgical approach to the idea before them, an idea given as an example was that of 400-meter record-holder Marita Koch whose documents were revealed after the Berlin wall fell. Also noteworthy is the fact of challenges to such measures in the court system. This is considered costly and unrealistic, making it a high risk proposal.

Clean Or Dirty Labeling Of Athletes

The proposal is trying to avoid labeling athletes as clean or dirty, therefore the direction taken is based on the year when urine and blood samples were first frozen for retroactive testing at a later date. That year was 2005, making any rule of doping applicable to that time and after.

European Athletics Council’s President, Svein Arne Hansen said the new rules would “raise the standards for recognition to a point where everyone can be confident that everything is fair and above board.”

Some of the recommendations by the European Team

1) European Athletics (and IAAF) should amend their record ratification rules and procedures with criteria that contribute to credibility of records with effect from 1 January 2018.

2) Record ratification conditions should include ongoing requirements related to integrity, which if breached could result in withdrawal of recognition without necessarily implying anything about the legitimacy of the performance.

3) Any athlete whose European Record(s) from prior to 1 January 2018 are no longer recognized should be referred to as a Former European Record Holder.

4) When a record recognition is withdrawn, no immediate successor should be ratified but rather a limit should be set for a new record to be established at a future date.

The new criteria for recognition of records should includes Senior level European & World Records can only be set in a restricted set of highest-level competitions where the IAAF or Area associations can have complete confidence in the competition officials and the timing and distance measurement systems; Senior level records can only be set by athletes who have had a specified number of doping control tests (number to be agreed) in the previous 12 months.

Part of the doping control sample for any record performances must be stored and available for re-testing for 10 years; All record holders have an obligation to maintain their sporting integrity after a record is recognized. If sanctioned for a serious breach of the rules (for example a subsequent doping offense) recognition of their records will be withdrawn even if there is no proof the breach affected the record setting performance.

Physiologist Michael Joyner of the Mayo clinic did a twitter poll asking whether people would accept a 5-percent false-positive rate, if it will help catch 95% of those who actually did drugs. The results show 524 votes of which 70% said no to the idea.

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