British middle-distance great stresses importance for athletics “to build trust and defend clean athletes at all times” during his first official visit to Russia as IAAF president

Seb Coe has completed his first official visit to Russia as IAAF president, with the British middle-distance great expressing his “uncompromising position” on the issue of doping in athletics.

Coe, who was elected into the top role at the sport’s world governing body following a vote at the 50th IAAF Congress in Beijing in August, met with Russia’s minister of sport Vitaly Mutko and president of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov during a visit that he described as having been “very productive”.

“I was able to meet and interact directly with Russian athletes, coaches and officials, and I appreciated their openness, passion for our sport and noted a real appetite for change,” said Coe. “I also felt a very strong support for our plans to modernise athletics.

“I expressed my uncompromising position on the issue of doping in athletics and the importance for the sport to build trust and defend clean athletes at all times.”

During his two-day trip, Coe also visited Moscow’s IAAF Regional Development Centre, met the country’s national team coaches at the Russian NOC HQ where he also addressed the All Russian Athletics Federation Annual Congress, and later presented awards at the first ever ARAF Gala.

A three-person independent commission, chaired by the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) founding president Dick Pound, was formed after the broadcast of an ARD documentary – ‘Top-secret doping: How Russia makes its winners’ – which was aired in December 2014.

Earlier this year, WADA announced that the commission is due to deliver its report to WADA’s president by the end of 2015 unless he deems it appropriate to extend the mandate.

Two-time Olympic gold medallist Coe has recently called for the creation of an integrity unit to help enforce more independent anti-doping procedures within the sport. The establishment of a fully independent anti-doping agency was among the eight specific pledges revealed by Coe in June as he made his bid for presidency.