World Champs: Battle with Gatlin not for soul of track and field - Bolt

Usain Bolt races against Justin Gatlin in London

World’s fastest man Usain Bolt has played down the match-up between himself and American Justin Gatlin as a battle for the sport, insisting he will simply be focussed on himself ahead of Sunday’s 100m final.

The race between the duo has been billed in many respects as a battle between good and evil, Bolt, the sport’s pristine champion, pitted against Gatlin, the two-time banned drug offender. 

For many a win for Gatlin would be a triumph for those who achieve results by circumventing the principles of fairplay and honestly, intricately interwoven into the very fabric of the sport.  Bolt, however, does not number among them.

“The rules are there for a reason, and if the rules say he can be banned and get back into the sport, I can’t really do anything about it,” Bolt said.

“That’s not my call. He’s still going to line up, and I still have to compete against him. Me, I abide by the rules, and that’s pretty much it.”

The Jamaican has often been portrayed in the light of track and field’s saviour, generally regarded as one of the few athletes to, not only achieve seemingly unassailable heights, but also achieving those heights via just hard work and dedication.

The sprinter insisted, however, that the responsibility still remained at the foot of each and every athlete.

“I am running for myself,” he said.

“That’s what I do. People say I need to win for my sport, but there are a lot of other athletes who are running clean and have done throughout their careers. It’s the responsibility of all athletes to show that they can save the sport. It is not only on me.”

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