ATH­LET­ICS

Coe and IAAF be­hav­iour in­hu­mane: Gatlin’s agent

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LON­DON: Ath­let­ics chief Se­bas­tian Coe and the IAAF’s treat­ment of con­tro­ver­sial 100 me­tres world cham­pion Justin Gatlin is ‘in­hu­mane’ and ‘un­sports­man­like’, the ath­lete’s agent told the BBC in a blis­ter­ing at­tack.

Bri­tish ath­let­ics leg­end Coe-a two-time 1500m Olympic cham­pion-had told the BBC on Sun­day two-time drugs cheat Gatlin’s vic­tory in the sport’s most high pro­file event in Lon­don, which was watched by over eight mil­lion view­ers in Bri­tain, was not the ‘per­fect script’.

Gatlin, 35, had been loudly booed through­out the 100m rounds and the ver­bal abuse was ratch­eted up a few notches when he won the fi­nal, deny­ing Ja­maican su­per­star Usain Bolt a 12th world ti­tle in his last in­di­vid­ual fi­nal. The 60,000 plus spec­ta­tors jeered Gatlin whilst chant­ing bronze medal win­ner Bolt’s name as if he were the cham­pion.

Coe-who had said prior to be­ing elected pres­i­dent of the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions (IAAF) he felt ‘queasy’ about dop­ers re­turn­ing and win­ning ti­tlesre­marked he wasn’t very ex­cited about the prospect of plac­ing the gold medal around Gatlin’s neck. “I’m not eu­lo­gis­tic that some­one who has served two bans has walked off with one of our glit­ter­ing prizes,” said the 60-year-old. How­ever, Gatlin’s agent Re­naldo Ne­hemiah, a for­mer 110m hur­dles world record holder, was scathing about Coe’s re­marks. “I take of­fence to, with all re­spect, Lord Coe,” he told the BBC.

“I don’t con­done dop­ing but Justin Gatlin is not the poster child for it. “He’s done his time, he plays by the rules, the IAAF re­in­stated him. They said if you come back we should ac­cept that. “So to put a nar­ra­tive out that it’s just Justin Gatlin and he’s the bad guy, it’s re­ally not fair. “It’s in­hu­mane. It’s un­sports­man­like.”

‘THE LEG­END IS OK WITH IT’

Ne­hemiah, who won the 1984 Su­per Bowl with the San Fran­cisco 49ers, said Coe and the IAAF should be more gra­cious and ac­cept their rules al­lowed ath­letes like Gatlin to get a chance at re­deem­ing them­selves. “Lord Coe’s a part of the IAAF who set the rules, who set out the pun­ish­ments, and when you serve the pun­ish­ment you are sup­posed to be re­in­stated, which th­ese ath­letes who have of­fended and abused some of th­ese rules have, and if you don’t want them in you should change the rules,” said Ne­hemiah.

“You don’t al­low them in and then still con­demn them,” said the 58-year-old. Coe has al­ways been a hard­liner on dop­ing, be­liev­ing sec­ond time of­fend­ers like Gatlin should have life bans-how­ever that view has fallen foul of the le­gal sys­tem when ath­letes have gone to court to chal­lenge such pun­ish­ments. Gatlin­who re­acted to the crowd’s boo­ing of his vic­tory by plac­ing a fin­ger to his mouth-served a fouryear ban from 2006-10, re­duced from eight years and also served a prior ban whilst a stu­dent, although that was also re­duced as it was as­cer­tained that he had taken med­i­ca­tion for his At­ten­tion Deficit Dis­or­der (ADD).

Ne­hemiah, who missed out on his chance of an Olympics due to the US boy­cott of the 1980 Games in Moscow over the in­va­sion of Afghanistan, said if Bolt could ac­cept gra­ciously that Gatlin was jus­ti­fied in be­ing there, then it should be good enough for any­body.

“If it’s good for Bolt it should be good enough for ev­ery­one else,” said Ne­hemiah, who ob­served that when Gatlin com­peted and won bronze at the 2012 Olympics in Lon­don he was not booed. “If the king, the leg­end is OK with it we should all be OK with it.” — AFP

LON­DON: IAAF Pres­i­dent Se­bas­tian Coe leaves af­ter he awarded the gold medal for the men’s 100-me­ter fi­nal to United States’ Justin Gatlin dur­ing the World Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don Sun­day. —AP

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