Jonathan Edwards, who has held the men’s triple jump world record since 1995, has remarked doping in athletics is similar to fraud. The British sporting hero also said drug cheats should be jailed as it would be “a good deterrent” for would-be cheats.

Edwards said he believes the sport in “real crisis” can be saved by his compatriot Sebastian Coe from further decline after athletics was engulfed by a series of doping convictions and allegations. Edwards said he knows Sebastian very well and he is absolutely the right person to do the job. He remarked Coe has inherited the sport in a real crisis, with all the recent doping allegations and Coe has to establish the credibility of the sport and the credibility of the doping activities that the IAAF have carried out. The retired triple jumper also said Coe knows he has a very tough job ahead of him and he is under no illusions. The men’s triple jump world record added Coe has had amazing credibility as an athlete, as a sports administrator for what he did at London 2012 and he is very good at gathering talented people around him.

In August, Sebastian Coe was appointed as President of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF). Coe immediately vowed to address the sullied image of athletics through the implementation of independent anti-doping units.

The 49-year-old, who won a host of gold medals including at the 2000 Olympics and the 1995 and 2001 World Championships, said he thinks the criminalization of doping in sport should be very seriously looked at. Edwards added he does not see how doping is different to fraud in business and remarked athletics is big business now. However, Edwards remarked he understands that, legally, there are difficulties with implementation, because of different laws across continents and across countries but he do thinks it is something that should be given serious consideration.

The former Olympic, World, Commonwealth, and European champion admitted the ambitious plan of the IAAF President to create an independent doping strategy for avoiding perceived conflicts of interest may be hamstrung by a lack of funding. Edwards added UK Anti-Doping is under threat of 20 per cent budget cuts and they have been warned, this is the reality of the world we are living in at the moment. Edwards, a member of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games for the 2012 games, said money is not as free-flowing as it used to be but everyone has to understand that, money spent on anti-doping in one sense is not going towards building up the sport, but if you lose the credibility in the eyes of the public, then you’ve lost the sport.

Edwards added he is in favor of Britain trying to emulate France, Italy, and Australia by criminalizing the use of substances that are prohibited under the World Anti-Doping Code. In August, Lord Colin Moynihan, the former sports minister and chairman of the British Olympic Association, suggested this idea that is presently under review.

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