I cannot save athletics alone: Bolt

Thu Aug 20, 2015 6:08am EDT
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By Nick Mulvenney and Gene Cherry

BEIJING (Reuters) - Olympic and world sprint champion Usain Bolt has been saddened by the focus on doping in the run-up to the world championships but says even he cannot save the sport by himself.

The governing International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has spent the three weeks leading up to its showpiece event, which begins on Saturday, defending its record on doping after a string of embarrassing leaks.

Britain's Sebastian Coe was elected as new IAAF president on Wednesday and has promised to set up an independent anti-doping body for the sport.

"It's been a lot of doping in the headlines over the last couple of months, it's really sad that that's where the sport is right now," Jamaican Bolt told Reuters in an interview on the eve of his 29th birthday.

"Hopefully, the new president can change a lot of rules and make things easier for the sport to be better.

"It's going to be hard (to get rid of doping), I think. If you make harder rules, less people will take a chance.

"But I think you will always have those one or two people who feel they can beat the system. It's just like life, people think they can beat the system."

In the midst of the crisis, the Beijing sprint showdown between Bolt, who has never failed a drugs test, and in-form American Justin Gatlin, who has served two suspensions for using banned substances, has been billed as a battle for the soul of the sport.   Continued...

Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt greets journalists after his news conference ahead of the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) World Championships, in Beijing, China, August 20, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon