Athletics chiefs ‘must establish how big an issue abuse is in sport’

Shadow of athletes running

The IAAF is putting policies in place to safeguard its athletes

Athletics chiefs have been told to investigate how widespread the abuse and harassment of competitors is.

The IAAF Council has approved a position statement on protecting athletes as part of an ongoing athlete welfare campaign.

It comes after more than 500 teenage athletes were surveyed at the World Under-20 Championships in July.

The resulting preliminary findings found the incidence is "in line" with the wider community.

"The first thing we need to do is establish how big an issue this is within the sport," said Dr Paolo Emilio Adami, medical manager of the IAAF's health and science department.

"It would be neglecting the reality if we concluded that these events are not happening in sport because an individual's behaviour tends to be consistent across all parts of their life."

The results of the athlete survey will be presented to the IAAF Council in December.