Lord Coe revealed that he will congratulate the new world 100m champion, Just Gatlin if he sees him in London this week but admits he was far from “eulogistic” to see the twice-banned American sprinter win gold.
Speaking on BBC 5 Live’s Sportsweek, Coe said “Sport rarely settles upon the perfect script. Life’s just not like that,”
“It’s not the worst result ever. “I’m hardly going to sit here and tell you I’m eulogistic that somebody that has served two bans in our sport would walk off with one of our glittering prizes, but he is eligible to be here.” he added
Coe said that as head of the IAAF he would have to congratulate Gatlin if their paths crossed in London. “I will say, ’You were eligible to compete here and frankly’ – as Usain Bolt said to him last night – ’you have worked hard for what you have achieved’,” Coe said. “I think the journey to that point is not a comfortable one for me.”
Coe also revealed that the IAAF tried to effectively end Gatlin’s career following his second failed drugs test in 2006, only for court action to see his suspension reduced. “There have been two bans in the past, one which got watered down which made it very difficult for the second ban,” Coe said. “The second ban we went for an eight-year ban which would have in essence been a life ban – we lost that. So these things are suffused in legality.”
Coe said he was “never going to close the door” on the prospect of life bans for drug offenders, saying “the majority” in athletics would favour them being available as a punishment. “We have tried it, we’ve constantly tried it,” he said. “We’ve lost it in a mixture of courts and particularly the Court of Arbitration (for Sport).”
In what was Bolt’s final individual race before retirement, the 11-time world champion could only take third place, behind United States sprinters Gatlin and Christian Coleman.