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May 24, 2020

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Sebastian Coe says he is self-funding trips to about 100 countries all over the world as part of his bid to become the boss of world athletics.

In an interview with Stuff.co.nz, Coe said his short stop in New Zealand was part of about 100 nations he has visited so far in preparation for the presidential election for the International Association of Athletics Federations in August.

Coe refused to say how much his flight, accommodation and expense costs for the trips had run up to but when asked how they would be covered, he said: "I've got a very understanding wife.

"I've been to many, many countries. It's certainly must be getting on for nearly one hundred," Coe said.

"A couple of weeks ago I was in Brazil, meeting with the 13 South American federation presidents, a few weeks before that I was in Egypt, in Sharm el-Sheikh, just before Christmas I met with 22 Arab-speaking nations, so yes, I'm travelling a lot.

"Today I fly off to the Gold Coast, to the Oceania track and field convention, and in a couple of weekends I'm in the Caribbean.

"I have a very understanding wife.

"That [self-funding] is how the campaign is being run at the moment.

"It's important, I think if you have the temerity to offer yourself up as president, I think it's incumbent upon you to understand the challenges of those federations you're wanting support from.

"Athletics is probably the most global of sports out there."

Coe, who is an IAAF vice-president, said his personal financial sacrifice was a reflection of how seriously he was taking his bid to go one chair higher in the organisation.

"I think it's something you have to do, I don't think you can pretend a campaign is only about listening to people that are in your own continent or in your own back yard.

"It's a global sport, there are global challenges and it's important someone stepping up to the plate understands what those challenges are."

Double Olympic champion Coe, who is also the chairman of the British Olympic Association and the man who ran London's 2012 Olympic Games, and Ukrainian pole vault icon Sergey Bubka are the front-runners in the race to be made IAAF boss in August.

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