Sebastian Coe said he does not believe the Paris Olympic Games this summer will be drug free.

Appearing at the Hay Festival, Lord Coe said there would be drug cheats, but warned them they should not “sleep easily”.

The former athlete, who won four Olympic medals including two 1500m golds, said technological advances had made doping easier to detect, but some athletes would not be deterred.

Asked if he thought the Games would be drug-free, Lord Coe, the World Athletics president who headed the London 2012 bid, replied: “The honest answer to that is no, sadly.”

He said: “They will be cleaner, I hope, than previous Games… But I have to be realistic about it. I think it is a much safer landscape than it used to be; there are things we’re doing that we didn’t do before, because of technology.

“But human nature tells me there will always be a few who, even with the right education programmes and tough deterrents, are going to make that risk/reward decision and step outside the moral boundaries.”

But he warned athletes: “Technology is improving. Things that we are now able to test for – if you’re watching championships now you will see us redesignating medals from six or seven years ago.

“No athlete who thinks they’ve got away with it on one occasion can sleep easily, because we have the systems to go back and test things we may not even know at this moment.”

Lord Coe was also asked about the ethics of Coca-Cola being an official Olympic partner, which has been criticised by health campaigners in recent years, and admitted that the relationship was “a bit odd”.

“I’m not an apologist for Coca-Cola but they have been with the Olympics since 1928. If you were coming fresh to the table now, maybe that wouldn’t be a brand that was automatically there,” he said.

“There are some brands that you look at and think it’s a bit odd that they are associated with sport, which is supposed to be about health and longevity.”

Lord Coe also reiterated his stance on trans participation in sport. Last year, World Athletics banned transgender women from competing in the female category at international events.

He said: “To protect and preserve the female category, we can’t have a sport where young girls wanting to enter the sport feel there is a biological ceiling beyond which they can’t go. They have to believe they can go from playground to podium.

“If you don’t do that, no woman will win a sporting event, and I’m afraid it is as binary as that.”

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2024-05-29T18:39:53Z dg43tfdfdgfd