Jeered Gatlin gate­crashes Ja­maican sprint king’s 100m farewell party

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

Lon­don, UK - Amer­i­can veteran Justin Gatlin was booed af­ter he stunned Usain Bolt to win the 100m world ti­tle in Lon­don on Sat­ur­day and rain on the Ja­maican's farewell race in the blue riband event.

Gatlin, who has served two dop­ing bans and won sil­vers be­hind Bolt at the last two world cham­pi­onships, clocked 9.92 sec­onds, with team­mate Chris­tian Cole­man win­ning sil­ver in 9.94sec.

Bolt suf­fered a dread­ful start and could only claim bronze in 9.95sec.

"I'm sorry I couldn't end it on a win­ning note, but I want to thank you for your sup­port," said Bolt, who em­braced Gatlin af­ter they streaked through the line with no clear vic­tor im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent.

"It's been a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence as al­ways."

Gatlin was af­forded the same rough re­cep­tion as he had in the heats and semi­fi­nals, loud boos and jeer­ing ring­ing around the same sta­dium where in 2012 his ri­valry with Bolt was pre­sented as 'good against evil', given the Amer­i­can's dop­ing-tainted past.

"I tuned it out (the boos) through the rounds and stayed the course," said Gatlin.

"I did what I had to do. The peo­ple who love me are here cheer­ing for me and cheer­ing at home.

"It is Bolt's last race. I have had many vic­to­ries and many de­feats down the years. It is an amaz­ing oc­ca­sion. We are ri­vals on the track but in the warm-down area we joke and have a good time."

The jeer­ing did in­deed con­tinue un­abated af­ter it be­came clear Gatlin, a sprinter whose past di­vides track and field, had gate­crashed Bolt's party.

Gatlin ini­tially put his fin­ger to his pursed lips as if to hush the crowd, be­fore drop­ping to his knees to bow down to Bolt.

"The first thing he did was con­grat­u­late me and say that I didn't de­serve the boos. He is an in­spi­ra­tion," Gatlin said of Bolt.

Cole­man added, "It was an his­toric mo­ment for me to beat Bolt who has taken this sport to an­other level and who I watched as I grew up. A hum­bling ex­pe­ri­ence.

"I'm de­lighted for Justin as we have bonded and be­come close. I was im­pressed by the way he han­dled the pres­sure and the crowd."

Gatlin has form as the last man to beat Bolt over 100m - by a hun­dredth of a sec­ond in Rome in 2013 - and at the age of 35, can still

pro­duce the goods, some­thing he has in the past iron­i­cally cred­ited with his four years of forced ex­ile from the track.

The even­ing was all sup­posed to be about the 30 year old Bolt claim­ing a re­mark­able 12th world gold to add to his eight Olympic golds in what has been a glit­ter­ing ca­reer.

And what a gap­ing hole his ab­sence will leave, no mat­ter how brave a face track and field's gov­ern­ing body the IAAF try to put on it.

Of his 19 global gold medals, 13 have come in in­di­vid­ual events and al­lied with a charis­matic per­son­al­ity, it has guar­an­teed Bolt recog­ni­tion as one of the world's most

suc­cess­ful sports­men.


Ja­maica's Usain Bolt af­ter fin­ish­ing third in the 100m in Lon­don on Sat­ur­day

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