MPs to question Dave Bedford about email he sent to Sebastian Coe

• Former IAAF official Bedford sent Coe an email in 2014 warning of corruption
• Coe has stated he was unaware of scale of problem before becoming president

Exactly what Sebastian Coe knew about corruption inside the International Association of Athletics Federations before he became president last year will come under fresh scrutiny on Tuesday when MPs question Dave Bedford about an email he sent warning Coe of an extortion racket involving senior figures of the sport’s governing body.

In December 2015 Coe appeared to indicate to the culture, media and sport select committee that he had been unaware of the scale of the corruption within the IAAF until a series of revelations from German TV were broadcast in late 2014, implicating the IAAF marketing executive Papa Massata Diack, the son of the then president Lamine Diack, and the IAAF treasurer Valentin Balakhnichev as well as a number of other key figures. Both Massata Diack and Balakhnichev have since been banned from the sport for life.

It has since emerged that Bedford, who was then the head of the IAAF’s road‑running commission, emailed Coe in August 2014 telling him how senior figures close to Lamine Diack had forced the Russian marathon runner Liliya Shobukhova to pay €450,000 to conceal a positive drug test only for her to then be sanctioned.

Coe, who was the IAAF vice-president at the time, does not dispute receiving the email, but in June 2016 the IAAF communications director Jackie Brock-Doyle insisted he had forwarded it on without opening it. “He did receive an email from Dave Bedford that said: ‘The attachments relate to an issue that is being investigated by the IAAF Ethics Commission,’” she said. “This was enough for Seb Coe to forward the email to the ethics commission. He did not feel it was necessary for him to read the attachments.

“You may think this shows a lack of curiosity,” she added. “He, and we, would argue that it shows a full duty of care – ensuring the right people in the right place were aware of allegations and were investigating them.”

Bedford, who set the 10,000m world record in 1973, is also likely to be questioned about various doping cases while he was the race director of the London Marathon – including Shobukhova, who was stripped of her victory from 2010 due to abnormalities in her athlete biological passport.

Meanwhile the Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele will be the star name in the men’s elite race at this year’s London Marathon on Sunday 23 April.

Bekele, the world record holder in the 5,000m and 10,000m, showed his ability over 26.2 miles when he became the second fastest marathon runner in history at Berlin in September, missing the world record by six seconds as he finished in a time of 2hr 3min 3sec. “London is the greatest marathon in the world and I would love to win there,” he said. “The field is always the best and victory means so much. After finishing third last year, I know what I need to do to win.”

In the absence of the Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge, who won the race in 2014 and 2015, the Kenyan Stanley Biwott is likely to be Bekele’s main rival. The 30-year-old, who won the 2015 New York City Marathon, finished runner-up in London in 2014, fourth in 2015 and second again last year in a personal best of 2:03:51.

The field also includes the Olympic silver medallist and Tokyo Marathon champion Feyisa Lilesa, who made international headlines when he crossed his wrists above his head at the finish in Rio – a protest against the Ethiopian government’s persecution of the Oromo ethnic group in the country. The 2016 Dubai and Hamburg champion Tesfaye Abera also competes as does Abel Kirui, the surprise winner of the 2016 Chicago Marathon last October.

The former European 10,000m silver medallist Chris Thompson will be targeting a place in Britain’s team for the 2017 world championships in London. The 35-year-old was 11th on his debut in London three years ago but could only finish 16th last year, when he missed out on Rio selection.

However, Callum Hawkins, the Scottish athlete who finished ninth in the marathon at the Rio Olympics and beat Mo Farah at the Great Edinburgh International XCountry at the weekend, will miss London as he has already qualified for the world championships and wants to focus on that.

Contributor

Sean Ingle

The GuardianTramp

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