Gatlin’s agent fu­ri­ous over re­marks about new world cham­pion

New Straits Times - - Sport -

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 ti­tles — re­marked 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 Coe.

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.”

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.

Ne­hemiah said if Bolt could ac­cept gra­ciously that Gatlin was jus­ti­fied in be­ing there, then it should be good enough for any­body. AFP

Justin Gatlin

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