Great Britain sprinter Danny Talbot has backed Seb Coe’s plans to push for an increased creativity boost in athletics, in order to make the sport more attractive to the public.
Last week the middle distance great and IAAF presidential campaigner reinforced his intentions to re-evaluate the way athletics is delivered.
This included a vow to protect the sport from potential Olympic event cuts, as well as the development of city street athletics events, which could be included as part of the IAAF programme.
By drawing from his experiences in the first ever World Relay Championships last summer, Talbot believes the sport is beginning to take a step in the right direction:
“We were introduced as a team and came out to music, in the style of WWE wrestling. We came from a tunnel at the 100m start line and gave the crowd something else to watch. All the athletes loved it too.
“Maybe that’s something we can see in Diamond Leagues and the major championships too. Imagine the hype if Bolt chose his own entrance music, with everyone wondering what dance he is going to do when he comes out.”
Athletics has struggled to fully embrace the characters within the sport in the ways that markets such as football and boxing have. At last week’s launch of the Great Newham London Run, Lord Coe said:
“What we really want to encourage people to do is when they’re running around here to think, actually for a few delusional moments, they are Mo Farah, they are Paula Radcliffe, they are Jo Pavey. Not enough do that.”
2012 European medallist Talbot has never taken part in a street athletics event, but insists that this type of exposure could lead to increased participation from a grass roots level.
“It seems like such a great occasion and all the athletes only ever have positive things to say about it. It seems great to be able to have the action so close to the crowd and seem so much more accessible.
“I’ve always thought, kids are much more likely to want to go and play football in a park with their mates than want to go to a track and run, so if they see professionals running in street races, it’s more likely they will stick two jumpers down, as a start and finish line rather than goal posts and just see who’s faster. That’s how you’ll get into it.”
The election for the IAAF presidency will be decided at the IAAF congress in August.