In wake of Caster Semenya case
Lord Coe proposes changes in athletics rules
"We can never allow this to happen in this way ever again," said Coe, a vice-president of the IAAF.
Coe believes that wherever an issue arises in which the gender of an athlete and the advantage their condition may give them on the track is in question, the governing body should be in a position to withdraw them from competition while the details of the case are determined.
"We need to be able to say, ‘I’m sorry, interim findings tell us that we have an issue and this issue cannot be played out in a major championship,’ " said Coe.
Speaking to the Times newspaper, Coe maintained that such an approach would be undertaken to protect the interests of both the athlete themselves and to give assurances to those coming in to the sport that they would not risk competing against someone who had an unfair advantage over them at the start line.
"We have to protect the athlete from the risk of entering a championship and having this exploding all around them," he said, whilst also stressing that "[w]e have to maintain confidence for girls to come into the sport and to think that they are competing on a level playing field."
Coe’s ideas will be aired among his fellow IAAF vice-presidents on the federation’s advisory board before making recommendations to the IAAF Council.
The results of Semenya’s gender-verification process are still to be determined.
"We are the stewards of the sport and we have to protect it," Coe said. "You cannot have a situation where a medical condition gives such an unnatural advantage to a competitor.
"The difficulty for us is that this is a complicated medical area, the work you need to do is over months and that doesn’t work for an international federation at a major championship.
"If we want to protect an athlete, we need to be in a position where we can act when an interim or initial investigation throws up an issue rather than this being something that you are trying to deal with in the pressured, often highly emotional environment of a championship.
"One of the problems we had was that we don’t actually have a mature or open discussion about this. This has been the taboo, not just in track and field or in sport; it is a societal taboo.
"You want to protect the confidentiality of the athlete, but we were doing it against the backdrop of a subject that frankly no one really wants to discuss in an open or sensible way. It is the kind of conversation that you have tucked away in corners of offices.
"There needs to be a broader discussion here. We have to get away from the elephant in the room." ©
The Telegraph Group,