Four time Olympic medal winner Lord Sebastian Coe buried a time capsule at Lathbury Sports Complex yesterday. Among the items inside were a baton from the 2015 World Championships in Athletics held in Beijing and a copy of yesterday’s Gibraltar Chronicle.
Lord Coe, the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, spoke about the baton before he placed it inside the capsule.
“This baton was used in Beijing 2015, where I was elected president of the IAAF,” he explained, adding: “I am very privileged to include this baton and I hope it survives however long it will be before it is discovered.”
He also spoke about how delighted he was to see track and field form an important part of the Gibraltar Government plans for sports.
“Sport is a strong part of every community, I am particular grateful for the support that the vision of the athletics federation here has been given by Government and political leadership,” he said.
“As a federation, we can only do so much we are really reliant on politicians to understand that sport is a large part of the community and I would say this that I am delighted that track and field sits centre stage in this development.”
Lord Coe is eager to see young people get involved in athletics but is aware that female engagement is a tougher challenge in some communities and cultures.
“We need to make sure we as a sport engage with women, one of the things we have done in our constitutional changes is by 2027 all personnel structures within the sport have to be filled 50:50. So by 2023, we will have that to 40%,” he said.
Calling it an “asset” he said athletics is not like other sports where there is a gender divide, explaining that in competitive terms it is 50:50.
“What we have not been as good at is to translate the 50:50 in competition to 50:50 in the boardroom.”
“We want a better gender balance in our councils and in our governing structures,” he said.
He believes if they get it right at that level girls and women will feel inspired to take part in the sport.
“If they see women being properly represented in their sport on councils they may think well actually when they finish competition there is a future for them as coaches, administrators, federation presidents,” he said.
It was the first time Lord Coe had been back to the Rock in over four decades, having come here for warm weather training as part of the British team, and he recalled his time here with fondness.