Bolt, Gatlin dismiss suggested link between anti-doping and slow times

Sports

Bolt, Gatlin dismiss suggested link between anti-doping and slow times

BY ZAHEER E CLARKE

Monday, August 07, 2017

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The medallists in the Men's 100m at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London took serious umbrage on Saturday to the insinuation from a reporter about a possible link between stronger anti-doping regulations and the slow times registered by the 100-metre male sprinters during the 2017 World Championships.

Justin Gatlin, Christian Coleman and Usain Bolt — the 100m gold, silver and bronze medallists, respectively — debunked the veiled remark at a press conference after the 100m final. The three were fielding questions from reporters all over the world when one reporter attempted to get the medallists' views on whether there was a possible link between stronger anti-doping regulations and the relative pedestrian times this year.

“The winning time today was the slowest for a gold medallist since 2003 and the marks, in general, were much slower than the last edition of the world championships. I would like to know from you guys if you think there is any relationship between the stronger doping control and the slower times this season,” the reporter asked.

A puzzled Bolt interjected during the reporter's questions in total disbelief at the innuendo.

“Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! What are you saying?” Bolt remarked.

The reporter outlined that at the 2015 Beijing World Championships 22 sub-10-second times were recorded during the 100m rounds. However, at the current edition of the World Championships in London, only seven such times were registered.

An obviously bothered Bolt took first strike at the question. Bolt declared that he thought the question was disrespectful to all the hard work he and his colleagues had put in and how much they have proven themselves repeatedly.

“We have worked hard. Justin has done his time throughout the years and has proven himself over and over again. I have proven myself over and over again. The young kid just coming in — Coleman — has done great and he's performing to show the world that he's [going to] be a great athlete.

“There is something called injury and sometimes everything [doesn't] go as smoothly as you want to. There is negative wind, there [are] so [many] different things. So for you to say something like that directly or to state something [like that] to all three of us, I [consider] that [disrespectful],” Bolt explained. “Yes, it's slow, but we came out there and put on a good show for everybody. Wow!”

In reference to the intimation, Gatlin also came to the defence of himself, Bolt, and Coleman. Gatlin indicated that everyone should be reminded that all athletes — in all sports — are human beings, who, despite their various injuries, work hard, train every day, and are expected to perform at their best, even when they are far from it.

He further indicated that all athletes wish they could deliver a personal best each time they perform. However, they can only give of their best each time they do, and Saturday night was no different.

“We push ourselves to [do] the best we can do,” Gatlin replied, “and tonight that was the best that [we] could give. We still made it the most exciting race you have seen all year and it was so close. So, I don't think it's an algorithm to an anti-doping issue.

“This guy [Coleman] had a long season. He has literally [run] almost the whole year. Chris has been running since December and it's almost December again. So, for him to come up here, get on the podium and grab a medal, that had nothing to do with it. That was fortitude, that was a lot of heart, and that was a lot of guts out there — and it's the same thing with Usain,” Gatlin declared to everyone in the room.

“He has had injuries. He has been running and has been giving you guys the best performances of his life over and over again, and I've been right there with him trying to be able to perform and be right next to him. So, I don't think it has anything to do with that. I just think we are hardworking athletes and sometimes it doesn't go how we want it to go.”

When Coleman was asked if he wanted to add anything to what the veterans Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin had said, Coleman replied: “Nah. I think they pretty much said it all.”

Gatlin, in the press conference, further revealed that he has been hampered by injuries this season and missed valuable time away from training. He referred to a hip flexor injury that kept him out for two weeks in April and a calf injury that had him miss another week afterwards.

Similarly, Bolt lamented the rough seasons he has had with injuries and the death of his friend Germaine Mason earlier this year that affected his preparation.


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