By Mike Rowbottom at the Sheraton Hotel in Sopot

President Lamine Diack in Sopot ©Getty ImagesMarch 7 - Moves to locate cross-country running within the Olympics have been backed once again by Lamine Diack, President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

Speaking ahead of the IAAF World Indoor Championships here, which he expects to provide "the climax to an outstanding indoor season," President Diack said his Federation would continue to "fight" for the sport's inclusion in either the Winter or Summer Games.

"In Sochi it was a very special IOC session in which we talked about 2020 and the future of the Olympic Movement," Diack said. "We were convinced we could organise cross-country championships during the Winter Games.

"It was not the position of the winter federations.

"But I think we will continue to fight in that direction.

"We have a group looking at it in our headquarters in Monaco, and we want to look at it again in December at [the IOC] Special Session.

"If it is not winter, why not have the cross-country in the summer Olympics?

"A good question for ourselves.

"We have the 5,000 metres, the 10,000 metres, the marathon.

"Why not cross- country at the Olympics to better promote this event.

"From now to December we have to convince our colleagues to go into the right direction and allow the cross-country."

The senior men's race at last year's IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland ©AFP/ Getty ImagesThe senior men's race at last year's IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland ©AFP/ Getty Images

Asked to comment on the success of the recent discus competition staged in Berlin, Diack responded: "I think that the question about the form of the World Championships will be decided in the future.

"So far we are offering shot put. If they change rules for one discus event in Berlin, good for them.

"So far we have multiple disciplines represented at our championships.

"We don't want to hold championships for just one discipline - we have an overview of events.

"But we are always looking for a new formula, of course, and it is sure we do have to consider the ways of presenting these disciplines in the future.

"There are fewer and fewer athletes in particular disciplines and there are some disciplines in which there are really very few athletes competing."

Speaking to the press ahead of today's opening day, the President said: "There have already been numerous outstanding performances on the boards this year, but this weekend's competition will provide the world's best athletes with a chance to go above and beyond what they have achieved so far in 2014.

"The World Indoors is the climax to an outstanding indoor season and we expect excellent results over the next three days," said Diack.

"Sadly, world record-breaking pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie is injured, although he will be coming to Sopot as a spectator.

"But in the women's 1500m we will have multiple world record-breaker Genzebe Dibaba as well as high jumper Ivan Ukhov, who just missed Javier Sotomayor's world indoor record, and Ashton Eaton, who set one of the two world records in Istanbul 2012.

"I am confident that these stars, and the rest of the field, will be highly competitive."

Although this is the first time Poland has hosted this event, the President pointed out that it has a long tradition of hosting IAAF events.

In 1987 Warsaw staged the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, which Bydgoszcz later hosted in 2010 and 2013.

Bydgoszcz also played host to the 1999 IAAF World Youth Championships and the 2008 IAAF World Junior Championships.

"You have to have dreams, and our dream was to host the World Indoor Championships," said Local Organising Committee President and Sopot mayor Jacek Karnowski.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
December 2013: Olympic target for cross country still the aim say IAAF after top-level summit led by Coe
August 2010: Decision to include cross country running in Winter Olympics set for discussion
March 2009: Diack supports inclusion of cross country in the Olympic
September 2008: Athletics legends want cross-country back in the Olympics