TRACK & FIELD
Plans to rewrite world records set before 2005 are “disrespectful, an injustice and a slap in the face,” former long jumper Mike Powell, who stands to lose his own world record insisted wednesday.
The proposals by European Athletics are part of attempts to make a clean break with the sport’s doping scandals.
If the move is approved, world records would only be recognised if they can stand up to strict new criteria.
But Powell, 53, told BBC World Service he would legally challenge any ruling.
“I’ve already contacted my attorney,” said the American, whose mark of 8.95 metres set in August 1991 has never been bettered.
“There are some records out there that are kind of questionable, I can see that, but mine is the real deal. It’s a story of human heart and guts, one of the greatest moments in the sport’s history.
“They would be destroying so many things with this decision, without thinking about it. It’s wrong. Regardless of what happens, I am going to fight.”
President of athletics’ governing body the IAAF, Lord Coe, called for a “global debate” around the issue.
He told BBC London: “These proposals will come back to the council and I look forward to maybe counter proposals and maybe changes, maybe thoughts around it.
“We have to start somewhere. This is a debate the athletes have prompted the administrators to have for far too long.”
European Athletics set up a taskforce to look into the credibility of world records in January.
Its ruling council has ratified the proposals put forward by the taskforce, and it wants world governing body the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) to back them when its council meets in August.
Taskforce chair Pierce O’Callaghan told BBC Sport on Tuesday the plans were about “restoring credibility”.
“Obviously this has to stand up to a court of law,” he added.
“This is about the sport regaining control of its rules and records. Because in the past there have been threats of legal action when this has been mooted.”
Asked whether more legal challenges were expected, he said: “No, we’ve just changed the rules of the sport. These are sports rules. It would be like somebody challenging the referee in a football game.”
Paula Radcliffe, who faces losing her 2003 marathon world record, has called the proposals “cowardly”.
However, fellow British runner Darren Campbell says the move would be “for the greater good”.
Powell set the long jump world record at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo, beating Bob Beamon’s mark of 8.90m, which had led the field for 23 years.
Twenty-six years on, only the discus throw (1986), the hammer throw (1986) and shot put (1990) world records have stood for longer in men’s outdoor athletics.