Coe elected unopposed as BOA chairman

LONDON Wed Nov 7, 2012 2:01pm EST

Sebastian Coe, chairman of the organising committee for the London Olympics speaks at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, central England October 10, 2012. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Sebastian Coe, chairman of the organising committee for the London Olympics speaks at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, central England October 10, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

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LONDON (Reuters) - Twice Olympic 1,500 meters champion Sebastian Coe was elected unopposed as chairman of the British Olympic Association (BOA) on Wednesday after masterminding the highly successful 2012 London Games.

Coe, 56, played a key role in bringing the Games to London for the third time and was then the driving force behind its success as chairman of the organizing committee.

This year he also declared his interest in taking over from Lamine Diack as the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) when the former Senegalese long jumper stands down in 2015.

The top job in the major federation of the summer Olympics brings with it automatic membership of the International Olympic Committee, the most important body in world sport.

Coe, who will serve a four-year term as BOA chairman, was formally elected after British hockey chief Richard Leman stepped aside last month.

"I do consider this a huge honor because this is an organization that defined a large part of my adult life," he told a news conference at the BOA's headquarters in central London.

"You cannot join an organization like the British Olympic Association without recognizing the extraordinary history. The history of the BOA is the history of British sport.

"It is a large part of the history of the Olympic movement. In 1908 and 1948 we didn't just deliver a Games but set a tone and a style for the movement for many decades to come."

Coe reaffirmed the BOA's hardline approach to doping, which took a blow this year when the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned its lifetime Olympic ban for drug offenders.

"My stance is still non-negotiable and this organization is quite right to believe that it is in the power of the organization to decide what is best for that organization," he said.

"You know from everything I have done that I will chair an organization which will take a zero tolerance approach to drugs in sport. We have to recognize that we are in a much more complex and complicated world than we were 30 years ago."

(Editing by Justin Palmer)

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