Athletics

Gatlin shrugs off boos, 
saying he has 'done his time'

Justin Gatlin defended himself against accusations of whether he should still be competing after completing a remarkable comeback to win the men's world 100m title and ruin superstar Usain Bolt's farewell.

The 35-year-old American, who won the world title in 2005 a year after winning the Olympic gold in the Athens Games a year earlier, said he had done his time in serving a four-year ban (2006-2010) for doping.

The prospect of Gatlin becoming world champion had made Sebastian Coe, prior to him becoming president of the IAAF, feel "queasy".

And the American had been roundly booed when it was announced he had won ahead of Bolt who finished third.

While Gatlin raised a finger to his lips in defiance of their jeering, the crowd then chanted Bolt's name.

However, the 35-year-old insisted he was "no bad boy" and said he should be treated like anyone who is given a second chance by society.

"I'm just a runner," said Gatlin. "I'm back in the sport. I've done my time and I've come back.

"I've done community service, I've talked to kids, I've actually inspired kids to walk the right path.

"That's all I can do. Society does that for people who make mistakes. That's why I'm still back in the sport, still running."

Bolt also defended Gatlin's right to compete, although the Jamaican had not been so generous when another American, Tyson Gay, had tested positive and then returned.

"For me, over the years, he has done his time, if he's here then it's okay. I will always respect him as a competitor," Bolt said of Gatlin.

"He is a great competitor... I really appreciate competing with him.

"He's an excellent person, as far as I'm concerned. He's good at it and just a good person."

Gatlin tried to shrug off the hostile reception he had received throughout the qualifying rounds and then when he won.

He said: "I guess they booed me because I have become such a rival for him (Bolt).

"There were no boos from 2010 through to 2015, but really, I got the most pleasure from the way I stuck in there and came back." - WIRE SERVICES

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