World Athletics president says steps to curb R & D would suffocate athletes.

LONDON : World Athletics president Sebastian Coe believes steps to curb research and development on shoes would only ''suffocate innovation'', as elite athletes increasingly shatter world records wearing high-tech footwear.

A debate over runners' shoes has been raging since high-tech shoes developed by Nike played a starring role in two of the biggest distance-running achievements.

Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei broke the men 10,000 metres world record and Ethiopia's Letesenbet Cidey demolished the women's 5,000 metres record in Valencia in October last year, with both wearing Nike's ZoomX Dragonfly spikes.

Kenya's Kibiwott Kandie smashed the half marathon world record by 29 seconds last month wearing an Adidas road racing shoe.

''I remember a period in the mid-200s where Adidas were the kings of the podium, particularly in distance. So these things come in cycles,'' Coe was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

''And there's a built-in dynamic where shoes companies mercifully are still investing a lot of money into the research and development of shoes. I'm pleased they are doing that.

''At the moment I'm pretty calm about this. And the balance of judgement here is always............that we shouldn't be of trying to suffocate innovation.''

Coe said the sport had not reached a point where ''world records are being handed out like confetti.''

''If I go back to the 1930s I still marvel at Rudolf Harbig who ran 1:46 and bits for 800 metres on a cinder track,'' he added.

''And I still marvel at Peter Snell, who ran world records and some significantly sub 1:45s on grass tracks. Meanwhile Derek Clayton ran a world marathon in shoes that you wouldn't have gone for a stroll with in your local park.'' [Reuters]


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