Usain Bolt said on Thursday it was not down to him to save athletics and denied it was crucial he beat two time drug cheat Justin Gatlin at the World Championships. The build-up to the event, which starts in Beijing on Saturday, has been overshadowed by accusations of a cover-up of widespread doping. Gatlin’s appearance at these championships has caused further debate given that he was only spared a lifetime ban in 2006 after he agreed to co-operate with the anti-doping authorities.
The American is the fastest man in the world this year with a time of 9.74sec, which is 0.13sec ahead of Bolt’s best in 2015. Sunday’s anticipated 100metres showdown has been billed as a battle for the soul of athletics but Bolt rejects that idea and the defending champion says it is up to all clean athletes, not just him, to save the sport.
“This issue has really taken centre stage,” the Jamaican told a packed news conference. “All I’ve been hearing is doping, doping, doping, all the questions have been about doping. It’s sad it’s been at the forefront for the championships and not the competition. There’s nothing I can do about it, though. Initially I’m running for myself, that’s what I do.
“People are saying I need to win for the sport but there’s a lot of other athletes running clean, and who have run clean throughout their whole careers. “I can’t do it by myself, it’s a responsibility of all the athletes to take it upon themselves to save the sport and go forwards without drug cheats.
It’s not just on me but all the other athletes.” Bolt reiterated he had no problem racing Gatlin and said his only focus was on adding to his medal haul.