‘IT’S SAB­O­TAGE!’

Leg­end Johnson claims IAAF chiefs help Van Niek­erk win

New Straits Times - - Sport -

SPRINT leg­end Michael Johnson sen­sa­tion­ally claimed ath­let­ics chiefs blocked Wayde van Niek­erk’s ri­val in the 400m fi­nal as they wanted the South African su­per­star to win.

Botswana’s Isaac Mak­wala was de­nied ac­cess to the Lon­don Sta­dium by the IAAF, the gov­ern­ing body, who claimed he had the symp­toms of the con­ta­gious norovirus.

“Wayde van Niek­erk is an IAAF favourite,” BBC pun­dit Johnson said of the gold medal­list, “And now the only per­son that was his chal­lenger has been pulled out. Con­spir­acy the­o­ries are go­ing round. Who is be­hind this?”

Van Niek­erk re­tained his world ti­tle in dom­i­nant fash­ion, storm­ing to vic­tory in 43.98 sec­onds.

The 30-year-old Mak­wala, who was con­sid­ered one of the main chal­lengers to gold medal­list Van Niek­erk, was livid.

“‘They said: “No, you can’t run be­cause you are sick.” I think maybe this is sab­o­tage,” Mak­wala told ITV.

Van Niek­erk was drawn in lane six, Mak­wala in lane seven, but the Botswanan who posed the great­est threat to the Olympic cham­pion and world record holder was not al­lowed to run. In fact he was not even al­lowed in the sta­dium.

His lane re­mained empty for the men’s 400m fi­nal and for Lord Coe and the IAAF coun­cil it amounted to yet an­other PR dis­as­ter.

In fair­ness to the global gov­ern­ing body, Mak­wala had been un­able to con­test the 200m heats the pre­vi­ous day af­ter vom­it­ing in the sta­dium med­i­cal room, the symp­toms mir­ror­ing the many ath­letes who have fallen vic­tim here in Lon­don to an out­break of gas­troen­teri­tis.

But an IAAF med­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tive said the de­ci­sion to with­draw Mak­wala had been based on an ‘as­sump­tion’ that he had the norovirus be­cause of his symp­toms and that ap­peared to be the cause of some con­fu­sion.

Mak­wala said he was ‘ready to run’ and showed up at the sta­dium only for of­fi­cials to block his path.

In the end, he ex­pressed his des­per­a­tion and dis­ap­point­ment on so­cial me­dia.

“It’s like the whole World is mak­ing noise for me. I just want to hear that gun go and I set­ting off the blocks. Please!” he tweeted.

He also in­sisted that he was not that sick, had told med­i­cal of­fi­cials as much and had pre­sented a cer­tifi­cate.

“I am heart­bro­ken. I have waited. I feel like it is sab­o­tage. I’m not sure if it is the IAAF or the Bri­tish. I am feel­ing good to run.” Agen­cies

Botswana’s Isaac Mak­wala was re­fused en­try to the Lon­don Sta­dium on Tues­day.

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