WORLD’S fastest man Usain Bolt has pointed to his record-breaking feats as a youngster as proof that he, unlike so many of his rivals, remains untainted by doping.
Bolt issued a robust defence of his achievements yesterday, two weeks after the positive drug tests of fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell and American Tyson Gay dealt another colossal blow to the credibility of athletics.
The 100m and 200m world record holder, who won three gold medals at London 2012, was speaking in the capital ahead of his appearance today at the Anniversary Games at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford.
“I was made to inspire people and to run. I was given a gift and that’s what I do. I am confident in myself and my team, the people I work with. And I know I am clean,” said Bolt.
“If you were following me since 2002 you would know that I have been doing phenomenal things since I was 15. I was the youngest person to win the world junior title at 15, I ran the world junior record at 18, the world youth record at 17.
“I’ve broken every record there is to break, in every event I have ever done. For me, I have proven myself since I was 15. I have shown I was always going to be great.”
Gay and Powell are awaiting the results of B samples, but, if found guilty, would leave Bolt as the only man in the all-time men’s top four never to have failed a drug test.
Powell’s failed test heightened the scrutiny of Jamaican athletes, coming at the same time as fellow sprinter Sherone Simpson and just weeks after 200m world champion Veronica Campbell-Brown was provisionally suspended for returning a sample containing a banned diuretic.
Bolt, who said he had been tested on Tuesday, admitted athletics had been “set back a little bit” by the controversies but resisted the invitation to join Lord Coe in calling for longer bans for cheats.
“In life things happen, people make mistakes, mishaps happen,” he added. “I can’t really determine what the rules should be. Drugs are harsh on the sport. The fact is you have (anti-doping chiefs) WADA, the IAAF (athletics’ governing body) – these are the people who decide what should be done. They make the rules.”
Bolt is scheduled to compete with in-form Briton James Dasaolu in the men’s 100m tonight at the Anniversary Games, which takes place over three days at the Olympic Stadium and is a complete sell-out.
Dasaolu shot to prominence earlier this month by running 9.91 seconds, the second fastest British 100m time ever and faster than Bolt’s best time of 2013. Bolt is also set to compete in tomorrow’s 4x100m relay, while Sunday’s programme focuses on Paralympic competition.
■ Women’s 400m hurdles (8.04pm) – Britain’s Perri Shakes-Drayton takes on London 2012 medallist Zuzana Hejnova
■ Men’s 400m (9.21pm) – Olympic gold and silver medallists Kirani James and Lugurlin Santos are back in Stratford
■ Men’s 100m (9.48pm) – The world’s fastest man Usain Bolt returns to the scene of last year’s triple triumph
■ Women’s 100m hurdles (2.11pm) – Can Jessica Ennis-Hill heap more sporting misery on Australia and Sally Pearson?
■ Women’s 100m final (4.20pm) – Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Carmelita Jeter head a star-studded field, which includes three Brits
■ Men’s 3,000m (4.30pm) – Double Olympic champion Mo Farah goes for British record
■ Women’s T33/34 100m (3.16pm) – Hannah Cockcroft won two golds at last year’s Paralympics and is targeting further glory
■ Men’s T43/44 100m (5.01pm) – Arguably Britain’s star of London 2012 Jonnie Peacock is up against exciting Brazilian Alan Oliveira
■ Men’s T54 mile (5.14pm) David Weir, six-time Paralympic gold medallist, closes Games