BERLIN • A German reporter who sparked a doping storm engulfing athletics has hit back at accusations from Britain's Sebastian Coe, who is bidding for the sport's leadership, that his report was "a declaration of war" on the sport.
Hajo Seppelt, of German network ARD, teamed up with Britain's Sunday Times newspaper to produce a damning report. It accused the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) of failing to investigate hundreds of suspicious drug tests between 2001 and 2012.
The report raised new questions about the sport before the Aug 22-30 World Championships in Beijing. Coe responded with an impassioned defence of athletics, attacking "the betrayal of the last few days of our sport".
Seppelt hit back at the two-time Olympic 1,500m champion, who hopes to succeed IAAF president Lamine Diack in August.
"This smells like a cheap election manoeuvre to align the voters at the IAAF Congress behind him," the German reporter said.
"The man is apparently no different to many other sport officials.
"Is Mr Coe in a position to make better evaluations than the world's leading blood doping scientists?"
Coe declined to comment on Seppelt's remarks when he was questioned by reporters on Thursday in Costa Rica.
However, he underlined that he and "the vast majority" of people involved in athletics were opposed to the use of drugs.
"Of course, we have to utilise every ounce of technology available to us, because our challenge is always to protect the rights of the clean athletes to compete knowing that they are competing on a level playing field, that every athlete starts out equally with an opportunity to win or to lose," Coe said.