Athletics chief Lord Coe has voiced his regret that former drug cheat Justin Gatlin denied Usain Bolt 100m gold in the Jamaican sprinter’s final individual race on Saturday.
Coe also reiterated his desire to see dopers banned for life – a rule change that would have prevented Gatlin, 35 and banned on two separate occasions, from competing at the World Athletics Championships in London.
“It’s not the perfect script,” said Coe, president of governing body the IAAF. “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.”
Gatlin’s victory ahead of fellow American Christian Coleman relegated Bolt to third place on a night billed as his farewell and prompted some observers, including British former sprinter Darren Campbell, to call for the introduction of life bans.
“So would I [like to see life bans] and so would the majority of our sport. I’m not going to close the door on lifetime bans but we’ve constantly tried it and lost it,” Coe added.
“It’s worth remembering that Gatlin’s first ban was for amphetamines, and the case against him was at the more serious end. That then got watered down. We then had the second major infringement. We applied for an eight-year ban and again that got lost.”
Bolt could yet claim a 12th and final World Athletics Championships gold on Saturday as part of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team.