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• Coe plays down empty seats at World Championships

Coe added that the championships had also been affected by the regional tensions, which have seen Qatar boycotted by its neighbours.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their allies have cut direct air, land and shipping routes, closed airspace to Qatari aircraft and restricted citizens from visiting.

"It was always going to be a challenge and this is a country that has to deal with a set of circumstances that none of us foresaw five years ago when Qatar was given the chance of hosting it," Coe said, citing the example of a recent flight he had taken from Doha to Abu Dhabi which had taken seven hours.

"I went through Oman and sat there for four or five hours," Coe said. "That's a 45-minute flight. The ability to move around has been severely restricted."

Coe meanwhile said that the IAAF would continue to seek out new venues for the championships rather than rotating through traditional European strongholds of track and field.

Read More on: afp.com
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