SEB COE'S next race is about to go its mark.

He announced his candidacy for presidency of the International Association of Athletics Federation last week and he outlines his manifesto today in London.

His prospects of succeeding Senegal's Lamine Diack are strong. Lord Coe's biggest rival will be the legendary Ukrainian pole vaulter, Sergei Bubka, a fellow vice-president of the world body. A potent rival, Nawal el Moutawakel, the first female Arab Olympic champion, has said she will not run. She chairs the co-ordination commission for the 2016 Olympics and, with Rio behind schedule, will have her hands full.

Coe said his manifesto will "highlight the importance of our sport embracing innovation and change as we move forward. I want us to have a renewed focus on engagement with young people and a real understanding of the global landscape that is shaping the next generation of athletes and fans."

So what can we expect if he is successful?

Coe commented last year that the average audience age for individual Olympic sports is 49 ?? an appalling statistic ?? so Coe is right to highlight the sport's need to re-engage with the young. He is consistent: he played that very theme to the Olympic movement in an address which helped London secure the 2012 Games.

He will surely encourage more "street" athletics: pole vault and high jump in shopping precincts. The Scottish Championships was brought to a new public with pole vault in Glasgow's George Square. This trend must continue.

No matter who succeeds Diack, the competition structure must be revamped. The sport risks becoming a slave to history and tradition. A sport without a history is a sport without a soul so that deserves to be preserved, but slavish adherence breeds stagnation. The current calendar has changed little in 50 years.

National championships round the world are spread through the season, which handcuffs other major events and forces athletes to make difficult choices. At Scottish level, that has been evident from the clash of the European Cup (now Team Championships) and Scottish Championships. The best Scots ?? those in the Great Britain & Northern Ireland team ?? missed the nationals, devaluing the domestic event and making it harder to promote it and find sponsors.

Next year, five Diamond League events are staged in 14 days, from May 30 to June 13, and then there is nothing in the three weeks up to the World Championships. Coe would need to convert those mired in tradition and broker better structure and packaging.

There is scope for better use of technology: perhaps led lights on implements; use of measurement technology which could mean fewer attempts in pole vault, long and high jumps, with the competitor simply jumping as high or as far as possible (from wherever they have taken off) and leave the rest to technology, while perhaps introducing a knockout element in the latter stages. Shooting and archery have done so to their advantage.

That would be a radical change, but shortening lengthy competitions (the world pole vault record-holder Valentin Lavillenie can be dormant in the arena for two hours before making his opening attempt) would allow TV to focus on more dramatic and shorter contests,

Even the Olympic athletics programme, currently of nine days' duration, is too long.

All these issues deserve the attention of Diack's successor. The sport must adapt or face decline. Coe, a former Olympic champion, has the credentials to do it.

Before the financial crash, the IAAF had two years' income in reserve. Now, at $50m, it is half that, still far from unhealthy.

Deals cemented by Diack mean finances remain sound, but more dependent on Far East sponsors. It should be a concern that interest from the former European heartland is waning.

Diack never quite broke from the shadow of his predecessor, Primo Nebiolo, whose energetic and dynamic leadership made him a tough act to follow.

Coe will need to rekindle the Italian's spirit. Under his leadership the sport was the pre-eminent Olympic one. The IOC was horrified when Nebiolo introduced the World Championships in 1983, fearing it would undermine the Olympics. The World Cup followed. Both were a huge financial success. Nebiolo's allegiances (he was also president of the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations) and political nous gave him a strong hand which Diack could not match.

Last year the IOC promoted swimming and gymnastics to the top tier of Olympic sports, on which athletics previously stood alone. The IAAF got some $45m from the London Olympic revenue of $520m, but the share is less than in the past. The decision to promote swimming and gymnastics to the same tier was a huge slap in the face.

Coe's agenda, whether publicly acknowledged today or not, must be to retrieve the sport's former status and glories.

Having stood against current IOC president Thomas Bach, Bubka may have miscalculated. He polled just four votes, and assuredly embarrassed the IAAF by standing.

The IAAF will now regard Coe as the favoured presidential candidate. Opponents have until May to declare, so it may not be a two-horse race. Were such as Frankie Fredericks, or El Moutawakel to stand, there might be a shift in the betting, but my money is on Coe, always master of the tight finish.