Beijing : Accusing the British media of vilifying him during the ongoing World Athletics Championships in Beijing, US sprinter Justin Gatlin on Monday vowed to boycott them in the future.
Gatlin was suspended twice for taking banned substances and has been a controversial figure in the world of athletics since his return from a four-year doping ban in 2010. The 33-year-old’s clash with Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt in Sunday’s men’s 100 metre final was billed as a battle between good and evil – a battle for the soul of the sport – by a section of the media.
Gatlin – the pre-race favourite – was edged out by just one hundredth of a second by Bolt (9.79 seconds) in a closely contested final.
Footage posted on Twitter showed commentators from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) celebrating as Bolt crossed the line and Gatlin is understood to have shunned three different interviewers from the BBC after the race.
The sprinter believes he has been unfairly vilified not only by the BBC, but the rest of the British media as well, who he feels have focused disproportionately on his dope-tainted past.
“Justin, as well as I, feel that the British media and journalists have been extremely unkind to him. There’s been nothing positive said about him now for some time. Every characterisation is solely about doping and vilifying him,” Gatlin’s agent Renaldo Nehemiah said.