PRAGUE – For Usain Bolt, the announcement that 31 athletes were caught doping in retests from the 2008 Beijing Olympics was “really bad news”.
“It’s rough. It’s rough in the sport -“Something that’s been tarnishing the sport for years,” the Jamaican great said yesterday.
Bolt was speaking a day after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that the 31 athletes could be banned from competing at the Rio de Janeiro Games. He said the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and others “are doing a very good job of cleaning up the sport. They’ve proven that anybody who has cheated, they’re going to catch”.
Bolt will run in the 100 metres at the Golden Spike meet in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava tomorrow, his first race in Europe ahead of the Rio Games.
He said he believed that the crackdown on doping could prove successful.
“Hopefully, we can take steps forward in making the sports better and in the upcoming years, we won’t have these problems,” Bolt said. “But I think it’s a process, and I think over time, we will get better because they’re doing such a good job.”
In track, Russia is banned from competing because of a WADA panel report detailing state-sponsored doping.
The IAAF has yet to decide if the Russian track team will be allowed to compete in Rio.
“I don’t really think about it,” Bolt said. “For me, rules are rules. I really don’t make the rules, so all I do is follow the rules. I can’t really do anything about it.”
Tomorrow’s race will be Bolt’s second 100m after clocking 10.05 seconds in the Cayman Islands on Saturday. After that, he needed a treatment in Germany on the way to Prague.
“I had a tight hamstring after the last race, but I went to see a doctor and he solved the problem,” Bolt said. “I’m feeling pretty good right now. I’m feeling much better. I was training yesterday and everything was better.”
The six-time Olympic champion will race for the eighth time at the Golden Spike meet, part of the IAAF World Challenge series.
“I’ll be very happy with at least 9.8,” he said.
In Europe, Bolt is only scheduled to race in the London Diamond League meet on July 22, two weeks before the Rio Games open.
The 29-year-old Jamaican has not given up his goal to break his own 200m world record of 19.19, set in 2009.
“Definitely, for me, everything’s possible,” he said. “If I can continue on the right path until I get to the Olympics, I definitely think there can be world-records. I really want to run sub, 19. That’s my focus right now.”
Bolt acknowledged that his career might be coming to an end but was still not there.
“I’m definitely at the final stretch for sure,” he said. “I think I’m coming to the end of the finish line, but I can’t say how close I am. I’m just trying to close it out as best as possible.” (AP)