Ban is a pow­er­ful mes­sage, Bolt says

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - ROB HAR­RIS

LON­DON — Rus­sia’s track and field team be­ing banned from the Olympics sends a pow­er­ful mes­sage that should scare cheats, ac­cord­ing to Usain Bolt.

Stretch­ing out his left arm to show the small ad­he­sive ban­dage cov­er­ing the mark left by his lat­est dop­ing test on Thurs­day, Bolt de­cried the “re­ally bad” dop­ing prob­lem in his sport.

The six-time Olympic cham­pion was speak­ing in Lon­don shortly after the Court of Ar­bi­tra­tion for Sport re­jected an ap­peal by 68 Rus­sian ath­letes seek­ing to over­turn a ban im­posed by the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions, fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions of state-spon­sored dop­ing.

“It’s a good mes­sage to show that if you cheat or you go against the rules then we’re go­ing to take se­ri­ous ac­tion,” Bolt said. “This (ban on track and field ath­letes) will scare a lot of peo­ple, or send a strong mes­sage that the sport is se­ri­ous, we want a clean sport.”

Two re­ports from the World Anti-Dop­ing Agency have ac­cused Rus­sia of or­ches­trat­ing a dop­ing pro­gram that saw drug­tainted sam­ples dis­ap­pear or ma­nip­u­lated.

Now the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee has to de­cide whether to go fur­ther than the IAAF’s de­ci­sion and ban the en­tire Rus­sia team from the Rio de Janeiro.

Usu­ally so con­fi­dent on the track, Bolt was ini­tially wary about dis­cussing the “sideshows” of Olympic bans but the Ja­maican sprinter found his stride at a news con­fer­ence in Lon­don.

“If you have the proof and you catch some­body, I def­i­nitely feel you should take ac­tion,” the 29year-old said. “And if you feel ban­ning the whole team is the right ac­tion, then I am all for it.

“Rules are the rules and dop­ing vi­o­la­tions in track and field is get­ting re­ally bad, so if you feel like you need to make a state­ment then thumbs up.”

Bolt will run for the fi­nal time be­fore Rio on Fri­day, when he will race his first 200 me­tres of the sea­son at the Lon­don Di­a­mond League meet. It will be Bolt’s first event since pulling out of the Ja­maican Olympic tri­als ear­lier this month with a ham­string in­jury.

“I’m good, I’m feel­ing good, been train­ing good now,” Bolt said. “I went to see the doc­tor; he worked his magic as al­ways.”


Ja­maican ath­lete Usain Bolt shows the ban­dage on his arm fol­low­ing a drug test Thurs­day in Lon­don.

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