Gatlin win ‘not the perfect script’: Coe
07 Aug 2017 - 1:47
London: Justin Gatlin’s win in the 100 metres at the World Athletics Championships was “not the perfect script”, IAAF President Sebastian Coe said yesterday.
American Gatlin, who has served two suspensions for doping offences, ruined Usain Bolt’s fairytale farewell on Saturday by beating the Jamaican sprint great in his final ever individual race.
Bolt came third, behind 21-year-old American Christian Coleman, whose compatriot Gatlin was booed by the crowd for his win inside the London Stadium.
“I’m not eulogistic that someone who has served two bans has walked off with one of our glittering prizes. But he is eligible to be here,” Coe, the head of the sport’s governing body, told the BBC.
“It’s not the perfect script. I thought Usain was very generous with the observations he made. That must have been a bitter event for him to swallow. He was bigger than the moment and it typifies his career.”
Coe reiterated his support for life bans for convicted drug cheats after Jamaica’s prime minister Andrew Holness said he wanted the measure introduced to fully eradicate cheating.
Gatlin may have ruined Bolt’s going-away party with his surprise win in the 100 meter but he still did his best to soften the blow by bowing down to third-place finisher on his way off the track — a way of telling the people he knows what the Jamaican great has done for his sport.
“I have nothing but respect for him,” said Gatlin, who, at 35, is five years Bolt’s senior. “Even with me being older than him, he’s such an inspiration for me.”
Gatlin was booed at almost every turn this week in London — during introductions, at any time when his face showed up on the big screen, and never louder than when his name popped up on the top of the scoreboard as the winner in Bolt’s farewell 100-meter race at the worlds.
By now, Gatlin is used to it. With his doping past — his suspension ended in 2010 — the American has long been portrayed as the bad guy set against Bolt’s charismatic, fun-loving personality.
It doesn’t faze Gatlin anymore. He insisted he doesn’t care what anyone thinks and said all the boos were just background noise to him.
“I stayed focused on what I had to do,” Gatlin said. “I guess because I’ve become more of a rival for Usain, that’s where the booing comes from. I didn’t get booed throughout 2010. No boos in ‘11, no boos in ‘12, and ‘12 was here (for the London Olympics). Didn’t get boos in ‘13, ‘14 or ‘15.
“Just to be able to come back, regardless of boos, I still heard cheers.”
They came from his support staff, his family, his friends. But about those friends — it sure is hard to be close to him and not be bothered by the hecklers.
“I felt a hurt for him,” his manager Renaldo Nehemiah said. “I didn’t say anything to him, but I hurt for him. It was noticeable, obviously. Then again, I also know Justin. He was going to use that in the right way. I said, ‘At the end of the day, Justin, no one can control what you do on the track. This is your world. It’s one lane, make the best of it.’”