Gate­crasher Gatlin de­fi­ant as he brushes off boos

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

LON­DON — Justin Gatlin de­fended him­self against ac­cu­sa­tions of whether he should still be com­pet­ing af­ter com­plet­ing a re­mark­able come­back to win the men’s world 100m and ruin su­per­star Usain Bolt’s farewell.

The 35-year-old Amer­i­can, who won the world ti­tle in 2005 a year af­ter win­ning the Olympic gold in the Athens Games a year ear­lier, said he had done his time in serv­ing a four-year ban (2006-10) for dop­ing.

The prospect of Gatlin be­com­ing world cham­pion had made Se­bas­tian Coe, prior to him be­com­ing pres­i­dent of the sport’s gov­ern­ing body the IAAF, feel “queasy”. And the Amer­i­can had been roundly booed when it was an­nounced he had won with Bolt in third.

While Gatlin raised a fin­ger to his lips in de­fi­ance of the jeer­ing, the crowd then chanted Bolt’s name.

How­ever, Gatlin in­sisted he was “no bad boy” and said he should be treated like any­one who is given a sec­ond chance by so­ci­ety.

“I’m just a run­ner,” said Gatlin.

“I’m back in the sport. I’ve done my time and I’ve come back.

“I’ve done com­mu­nity ser­vice, I’ve talked to kids, I’ve ac­tu­ally in­spired kids to walk the right path.

“That’s all I can do. So­ci­ety does that for peo­ple who make mis­takes. That’s why I’m still back in the sport, still run­ning and be­lieve in my­self.”

Bolt, who said he would not be re­think­ing his plans to re­tire af­ter his stel­lar ca­reer, also de­fended Gatlin’s right to com­pete, although the Ja­maican had not been so gen­er­ous when an­other Amer­i­can, Tyson Gay, had tested pos­i­tive and then re­turned.

‘Done his time’

“He’s done his time and if he’s here it means it’s OK,” Bolt said of Gatlin.

“I al­ways re­spect him as a com­peti­tor. He’s one of the best com­peti­tors com­peted against.

“He de­serves to be here be­cause he’s done his time and has worked hard to get back here. I look at him as any other ath­lete.” I’ve ever

Bolt also called “dis­re­spect­ful” a sug­ges­tion that over­all slow sea­sonal times were linked to a more ef­fi­cient an­ti­dop­ing test­ing pro­gram, say­ing it was more down to either in­juries, loss of form or even neg­a­tive wind.

Gatlin, though, tried to shrug off the hos­tile re­cep­tion he had re­ceived through­out the qual­i­fy­ing rounds and then when he won.

“Not at all, this was Usain’s night, his last race,” said Gatlin of the boos when he won.

“He has my ut­most re­spect and this was his night, win or lose “He is still the man. “I guess they booed me be­cause I have be­come such a ri­val for him.

“There were no boos from 2010 through to 2015, but re­ally I got the most pleasure from the way I stuck in there and came back.”

Gatlin said he didn’t know if he would call it a day now that he had suc­ceeded in beat­ing Bolt in a cham­pi­onship fi­nal — just his sec­ond win over the 30-year-old in 10 meet­ings.

“Look, when I got the fouryear ban I thought I was through and then I de­cided I should come back and re­sume train­ing and see how it went,” he said.

“For a mil­lisec­ond when I crossed the line tonight I thought of re­tir­ing but now I will see the sea­son through.”

vet­eran ath­let­ics cor­re­spon­dent @Dun­can_ITG sWeekly

Bri­tain’s for­mer world heavy­weight box­ing cham­pion @mr­david­haye

PHIL NO­BLE / REUTERS

Justin Gatlin kneels be­fore Usain Bolt af­ter the Amer­i­can won the 100m fi­nal at the World Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships on Satur­day to ruin the Ja­maican su­per­star’s farewell.

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