Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Bolt hopes younger athletes avoid doping

Published:Monday | August 14, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Usain Bolt (second right) shakes the hand of IAAF president Sebastian Coe after he was presented with a piece of the track at the London Stadium in London, England. This is where Bolt competed for the final time at the IAAF World Championships before retiring from track and field.

LONDON, England:

Retired sprinting icon Usain Bolt says he does not regret extending his career after his horrid London 2017 IAAF World Championships experience, while again calling for life bans for intentional dopers.

Bolt suffered his first defeat at a major international championship since 2008 - excluding his false start at the 2011 World Championships - and could not finish the race while anchoring Jamaica in the 4x100m final because of injury, resulting in the country's first loss in the event - also since 2008.

However, Bolt, who, despite winning three gold medals at last year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro to become the first man to win three gold medals at three consecutive Olympics, decided to delay his retirement from the sport and close the curtain in London instead, says he owed it to his fans to give it one more year.

"No, I am fine. My fans wanted to see me one more year, and I told you I am doing this for them. Without them, none of this would be possible. They kept me going throughout the years. They gave me the energy and pushed me to being the best that I can be. So if I could come out here to give my fans a show, I am happy, no matter how it ended, because I was able to give them something they wanted. So, I am fine," said Bolt.

The sprinter said goodbye to his fans during a lap of honour inside a packed London Stadium, where he was also presented with a section of lane seven of the track from the London 2012 Olympic Games. Bolt won the 100m and 200m titles from that lane.

A video montage was also shown highlighting some of the sprinter's major performances, with IAAF president Sebastian Coe joining him on track to make the presentation.

Bolt noted that he hopes his legacy will be showing youngsters that the ultimate can be achieved through hard work.

"I have shown that all things are possible with hard work. My motto is that anything is possible. I don't think limits. No one would have thought I would be beaten at a championships, and it shows to the kids, keep trying in anything that you do. I am on the wrong end in this situation, but I, personally, feel this is a good message to the kids to be strong, and if I can leave something like that to the younger generation, that with hard work, you can be the best, then that's a good legacy to leave," said Bolt.

THE FIGHT AGAINST DOPING

The sprinter says that he hopes to be able to continue working in the sport and thinks his role could be to help the fight against doping by educating and encouraging youngsters to work hard and honestly to achieve their goals.

"I'm not sure what I will be doing specifically, but my agent is talking to Mr (Sebastian) Coe to see in what way I can help the sport, and I am looking forward to this. I am excited because I love track and field. It has given me everything that I have, so, for me, it's a big thing and I am looking forward to that.

"I have always been strong on doping. I feel like athletes should get life bans. If you go out of your way to cheat to be better, you should get a life ban. The sport has been going through a lot. We have hit rock bottom and we are making our way back up. Now, we have to be strict to help the sport to stay in a good light," Bolt added.

"I have proven to the world you can be great without doping and, hopefully, younger athletes can look at me and see. That's one of the things I want to help with if I get the chance to be around athletics; to preach to the younger kids from a younger age. Getting to them at younger age really helps to mould them," Bolt added.

- A.L.