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Athletics must embrace change to remain interesting – Coe

Athletics cannot shy away from change, says the president of the sport’s governing body, Sebastian Coe, who stressed it must keep pace with changing interests…

Athletics cannot shy away from change, says the president of the sport’s governing body, Sebastian Coe, who stressed it must keep pace with changing interests of viewers and sponsors to thrive.

World Athletics recently announced plans to trial the elimination of fouls from the long jump event and, on the eve of the world indoor championships in Glasgow, Coe stressed these kinds of revisions must be embraced.

“The holy grail of every sport is to remain salient, interesting, exciting to young people, we can’t have a tin ear in their direction,” Coe said at the worlds’ opening press conference on Thursday.

“We have to recognise that the way people consume sport – the way they consume entertainment – is different than it was even three years ago.”

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A third of all jumps at the 2023 outdoor world championships in Budapest were no-jumps, so eliminating fouls would make the event more appealing to the public.

“Our sport is 150 years old and there are elements of it you absolutely want to protect, they’re sacrosanct. (But) there’s stuff there that just leaves people a little cold,” Coe said.

“We’re not going to back off innovation here, it is really important,” he added.

“We have a responsibility to future proof the sport, to continue to create the landscape, financially particularly. World class businesses do not routinely want to join enterprises they think are going in the wrong direction.”

The 19th worlds, which run from Friday through Sunday at the Emirates Arena, are the culmination of a strong indoor season, Coe said, pointing to three world records two weeks ago at New York’s Millrose Games alone.