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Coe dismisses doping-friendly Enhanced Games

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe on Thursday dismissed the Enhanced Games, a proposed Olympic-style event where doping will be allowed.

The Enhanced Games was founded by Australian businessman Aron D’Souza in 2023 with the aim of boosting athletes’ incomes in non-Olympic years.

The Games are planned to include athletics, swimming, weightlifting, gymnastics and combat sports, none of which would be subject to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) rules.

No date or venue for the event has yet been set.

WADA dubbed the Enhanced Games “a dangerous and irresponsible concept”.

When asked for his opinion of the proposed Games, Coe did not mince his words.

“Well it’s bollocks, isn’t it?” Coe said at a press conference ahead of the World Athletics Indoor Championships that start on Friday in Glasgow.

“I can’t really get excited about it.

“There’s only one message and that is if anybody is moronic enough to feel that they want to take part in that, and they are from the traditional, philosophical end of our sport, they’ll get banned and they’ll get banned for a long time.”

No sleepless nights

Coe, a strong anti-doping advocate, added: “I’m sure there are crazy things happening in other sectors, we occasionally get them.

“I really don’t get sleepless nights over it. It’s not going to be a page turner, is it?”

Enhanced Games founder D’Souza told the BBC that athletes had contacted him keen to “make some real money” during non-Olympic years.

“Excellence deserves to be rewarded. It is unfortunate that our Olympians earn so little,” he said, lambasting what he called a corrupt International Olympic Committee whose members lived in opulence.

“There are a lot of athletes who are going to compete at the Paris Olympics, including some of the top Team USA track and field athletes who have reached out to me.

“Because, let’s be honest, they’re flipping burgers to provide for themselves, and financially it just doesn’t work for them.

“So they’re very excited to compete at the Enhanced Games to make some real money and have an opportunity to grow their fame, to monetise and practise their sport in the three years that the Olympics won’t be happening.”

D’Souza added that steps would be taken to minimise risks to athletes’ health.

“There’s of course concern about health and safety, and I always underline the fact that everything will be done under clinical supervision,” he told BBC.

“The best thing to do is to enhance yourself with clinical advice, with clinical supervision, and that is much safer.”

Since its announcement last year, D’Souza says there have been 900 athletes who have registered an interest in Enhanced competition.

Prize money on offer includes at least $1m (£788,000) on the table for “the first enhanced athlete to publicly break Usain Bolt’s (100m) world record”.

James Magnussen, an Australian swimmer who won gold, silver and bronze medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and is a two-time 100m freestyle world champion, was unveiled as the first major name to sign up for the Games.

Magnussen vowed to come out of retirement and “juice to the gills” in his bid to break the 50m freestyle world record, all for the $1m prize money on offer.

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