The World Championships kick off in Moscow this weekend amidst growing concerns over the state of the sport. Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and Veronica Campbell-Brown have all recently failed drug tests, as have an alarming number of Russian and Turkish athletes.
Such developments have cast a cloud over the upcoming championships and led the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to yesterday reiterate their “unwavering commitment” against doping, with its council approving plans to revert to four-year bans for offenders from 2015.
“We must always fight against doping,” Diack said.
“In present day society, you will always have cheats. All we did was develop the right instruments to sanction. These sanctions will of course be harsher and we have also decided to keep the blood sample for eight years,” he added.
Current rules restrict the IAAF to handing out two-year bans to first-time offenders, meaning many can serve without missing the chance to compete at the Olympic Games.
The ban for athletes was originally four years, but was halved in line with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code. The new code will be up for approval at the World Conference in Doping in Sport held in Johannesburg from November 12 to 15.