London Marathon organisers are confident this year’s race can mark a clean start for athletics and lift it from “the disaster zone” of doping and corruption scandals.
An increasing drug-testing programme is in place to ensure the race on 24 April does not fall foul of doping as in previous years. Russia’s Liliya Shobukhova won the women’s event in 2010 and was runner-up the following year but later had those results annulled after it emerged she had been doping.
Dave Bedford, who played a role in bringing the Shobukhova case to public scrutiny, said he was confident there would not be a repeat this year. Bedford, who is responsible for selecting the elite fields for the annual race, said: “The World Marathon Majors in association with the IAAF have financed an extended testing pool with athletes competing in World Marathon Majors events.
“This is as much out of competition as it is in competition. All athletes in our field will be tested more regularly than in any marathon in the past.
“I think it will probably take more than one year for us to start to feel that we have perhaps turned a corner but I think that once we move away from the disaster zone that we have been in…then I think that hopefully we will see that the London Marathon 2016 will make the start in terms of a new generation.”
Defending champion Eliud Kipchoge returns in an elite field which includes two-time winner Wilson Kipsang, world record holder Dennis Kimetto and Mo Farah’s former track rival Kenenisa Bekele.
Meanwhile, Bedford is convinced the IAAF president Sebastian Coe is the only man to lead the clear-up. “I believe that Seb Coe is the best person we have in our sport to solve the problems that we have now,” he said.
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