Six-times Olympic champion Usain Bolt says he feels shocked and let down by the scandal-hit IAAF. But the Jamaican sprinter is against resetting athletics world records as the sport attempts to move on from the doping crisis.
Thursday’s second instalment of a World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) report criticised the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), accusing its former head, Lamine Diack, of running a clique that covered up organised doping and blackmailed athletes as senior officials looked the other way. The first part of the report by independent investigator Dick Pound, a former head of Wada, in November led to athletics superpower Russia being banned from competition for state-sponsored doping.
Jamaican sprint king Bolt, the biggest name in athletics with a plethora of titles, records and commercial deals, said the IAAF had failed their athletes. “When I heard it was quite shocking for me to hear that because as far as I was concerned I think they were doing a good job to clean up the sport,” Bolt told Reuters in Kingston after collecting his sixth National Sportsman of the year award. “So for me to hear something like this was quite shocking and you feel let down as an athlete to be wanting to actually help clean up the sport, and then something like this to come up about the body. It’s kind of a letdown, so hopefully there’s no such thing, but we’ll see what happens.”
Diack stepped down last year after 16 years leading the IAAF and was replaced by Sebastian Coe. The Senegalese is already under formal investigation in France on suspicion of corruption and money laundering linked to the concealment of positive drug tests in concert with Russian officials and the blackmailing of the athletes to allow them to continue to compete. The reports noted that Diack “sanctioned and appeared to have had personal knowledge of the fraud and the extortion of athletes carried out by the actions of the illegitimate governance structure he put in place”.
UK Athletics (UKA) released “A Manifesto for Clean Athletics” on Monday, calling for world records to be wiped clean and drug cheats to be banned for at least eight years in radical proposals aimed at heralding in a new era for the sport. The 29-year-old Bolt, who set the 100m and 200m world records of 9.58 and 19.19 seconds in 2009 and shared in the 4x100m mark of 36.84secs in 2012, is against the proposal.
“As far as I’m concerned it’s really pointless,” he said. “What’s done is done, you have to just move forward and try to make the upcoming championships and Olympics and the next [world] records as best as we can and just look forward to the future. You can’t worry about the past, but try to build on the future.”