athletics Doping IAAF Justin Gatlin Sebastian Coe Usain Bolt

Justin Gatlin drug storm is a ‘wake-up call’ for sport, says IAAF President Sebastian Coe

August 8, 2017

Sebastian Coe, the president of the IAAF, believes the drugs storm engulfing athletics since Justin Gatlin’s 100m final victory at the World Championships represents a “wake-up call” for sport.

The American sprinter, who has twice been banned for doping offences, beat Usain Bolt to the gold medal on Saturday night in a time of 9.92 seconds.

Gatlin’s triumph triggered a flurry of boos at the London Stadium as fans voiced their disapproval in large numbers, while the newly-crowned champion was also afforded a hostile reception at Monday’s medal ceremony.

Bolt’s failure to emerge victorious has forced the issue of doping firmly back onto the agenda and Coe has welcomed supporters making their feelings on the subject known, but warned against singling out one man for athletics’ issues.

READ MORE: Usain Bolt’s shock defeat paves the way for new hardline approach in war on doping

“There is a bit of a wake-up call at the moment — in sport in general in fact — and I’d like to think that we’ve responded to that,” Coe told the Evening Standard.

“People are welcome to boo. We’re not the thought police and we can’t tell people what to think or feel. I don’t want people not to care and, in a funny way, I perhaps would have been slightly concerned if it had been a case of business as usual with all of this.

“But at the same time, it’s always very easy to aim this at just one person, who is currently in the eye of the storm.

“I appreciate the explanation for this doesn’t sit comfortably with a lot of people but, in the case of Gatlin, there’s a 17-year history with this, his first offence a ban as a junior.”

There is no quick fix to the issue of doping but certain wrongs of the past have started to be put right at the London Stadium this month as Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill was presented with her upgraded Daegu 2011 heptathlon gold medal after original winner Tatyana Chernova was stripped of the accolade.

Coe added: “We’re trying to address this issue of doping, and never before have we been able to reallocate medals to those who lost out on them in their careers as we have done in London.

“Jessica Ennis-Hill getting the recognition she deserved in a stadium she lit up five years ago is a case in point. People feel serious about this issue and it’s up to us to address it and confront it head on.”

athletics Doping IAAF Justin Gatlin Sebastian Coe Usain Bolt