Justin Gatlin’s agent Renaldo Nehemiah, a former 110m hurdles world record holder, has slammed athletics chief Sebastian Coe and the treatment of controversial 100 meters world champion by the world governing body of athletics.
British athletics legend Coe, a two-time 1500m Olympic champion, had recently remarked that the victory of two-time drugs cheat Gatlin in the sport’s most high profile event in London that was watched by over eight million viewers in Britain was not the ‘perfect script’. The 35-year-old Gatlin was loudly booed throughout the 100m rounds and the verbal abuse was ratcheted up a few notches when he won the final. His victory denied Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt a 12th world title in his last individual final. The 60,000 plus spectators chanted the name of bronze medal winner Bolt as if he were the champion and jeered Gatlin.
In the past, Coe had remarked that he felt ‘queasy’ about dopers returning and winning titles. Coe said he was not very excited about the prospect of placing the gold medal around the neck of Gatlin. The IAAF President said he is not eulogistic that someone who has served two bans has walked off with one of our glittering prizes. Coe said he would keep pushing for lifetime bans in the wake of the win of Gatlin.
Former sprinter Glenroy Gilbert, the head coach of the Canadian team at the world championships and who won an Olympic gold medal in 1996 as a member of Canada’s 4x100 relay, also agreed that lifetime bans were essential to clean up the sport.
Nehemiah, the agent of Gatlin, said he does not condone doping but Justin Gatlin is not the poster child for it. Nehemiah, who won the 1984 Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers, said Justin has done his time, he plays by the rules and added the IAAF reinstated him. Nehemiah added they said if you come back we should accept that and said the treatment by Coe was inhumane and unsportsmanlike. Nehemiah added Coe and the IAAF should be more gracious and accept their rules that allow athletes such as Gatlin to get a chance at redeeming themselves. He went on to comment that Coe is a part of the IAAF who set the rules, who set out the punishments, and when you serve the punishment you are supposed to be reinstated, which these athletes who have offended and abused some of these rules have, and if you don’t want them in you should change the rules. The 58-year-old said you don’t allow them in and then still condemn them. Nehemiah said if Bolt could accept graciously that Gatlin was justified in being there then it should be good enough for anybody.
Gatlin served a four-year doping ban from 2006-10 that was reduced from eight years. Previously, he also served a ban when he was a student although that was also reduced as it was ascertained that he had taken medication for his Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
It is however surprising to see Gatlin was not the only offender in the 100-metre final. Jamaica’s Yohan Blake, who finished fourth, served a doping ban of three months in 2009 for taking a banned substance.
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