Usain Bolt accused sprint rival Justin Gatlin of “disrespect” after the six-time Olympic champion won the 200m at the Anniversary Games in London. Bolt, 29, clocked 19.89 seconds in his first appearance since pulling out of the Jamaican trials. He was picked for the Olympics after getting a medical exemption, leading to comments from Gatlin and others.
“For me I felt it was a joke, I felt it was a disrespect they think I’d back out of a trials,” said Bolt. “I’ve proven myself year on year that I’m the greatest. I laughed when I heard it, I was disappointed, especially in Justin Gatlin.”
Bolt won gold in both the 100m and 200m at the London and Beijing Olympics, and will defend both titles in Rio next month.
Gatlin, considered his main 100m rival, was among those who claimed the Jamaican – who has struggled with a hamstring injury – got preferential treatment he would not receive were he American.
“He’s injured, gets a medical pass, that’s what his country does. Our country doesn’t do that,” Gatlin, who has twice served doping bans, was quoted as saying in the American press.
At the Olympic Stadium on Friday night, Bolt finished 0.15 seconds ahead of Panama’s Alonso Edward in second, with Britain’s Commonwealth silver medallist Adam Gemili third.
The fastest 200m time of the year is 19.74 by United States sprinter LaShawn Merritt, while Bolt’s word record – set in 2009 – is 19.19.