Re-elected IAAF president Coe reveals new Wanda sponsorship

September 25, 2019 - 6:25 am

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Sebastian Coe marked his re-election as IAAF president on Wednesday by announcing Chinese conglomerate Wanda as the Diamond League title sponsor in what he called the biggest commercial deal for track and field.

The global real estate and film production group is expanding its investment in sports having signed up as a top-tier sponsor of FIFA in 2016.

The Diamond League will be backed by Wanda from 2020 in a 10-year deal that secures a stop for the series in China and allows the company to organize a new IAAF event in the country, Coe said, without providing financial details.

"It is the biggest single commercial partnership in the history of athletics," Coe told the IAAF Congress in Qatari capital Doha.

Ahead of the world championships opening Friday in Doha, the 62-year-old Coe was unopposed to continue in the IAAF presidency he first assumed in 2015, receiving all 203 votes.

A double Olympic 1,500-meter champion who organized the 2012 London Olympics, Coe has overseen Russia being suspended from the IAAF. It was one of the toughest sporting sanctions by a sports body against the country for corruption and systematic doping.

Asked about his hopes for his second term, Coe replied: "Not to be dominated by Russia."

That is unlikely since Russia's ban was extended by the congress on Wednesday. It means for the second straight world championships the only Russians competing — 30 — will do so without their country's flag or uniform. That is 11 more Russian neutral athletes competing than the 2017 world championships in London.

IAAF election day started with the Athletics Integrity Unit suspending one of the vice presidential candidates — Ahmed Al Kamali of the United Arab Emirates — for potential violations of the code of conduct.

The IAAF elected its first female vice president, with the vote won by Ximena Restrepo, the sprinter who collected Colombia's first Olympic medal in athletics at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

The other vice presidents are Sergei Bubka of Ukraine, Geoffrey Gardner of Norfolk Island and Prince Nawaf Bin Mohammed Al Saud of Saudi Arabia.

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