Monday 18 December 2017

Justin Gatlin's father hits out at fans who booed his son after 100m triumph

USA's Justin Gatlin after winning the Men's 100m Final during day two of the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium
USA's Justin Gatlin after winning the Men's 100m Final during day two of the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Justin Gatlin's father Willie claims athletics fans who have booed the new 100 metres world champion are disrespecting the sport.

The 35-year-old was jeered on to the top of podium on his return to the London Stadium on Sunday evening to be presented with his World Championships gold medal by Lord Coe.

Gatlin, who has served two doping bans, blew a kiss to the crowd and clasped his hands together as he received his medal from world athletics chief Coe, who hours earlier had branded his triumph "not the perfect script".

While the American escaped the expected barrage of boos, with plenty of cheers helping to drown out the hostile reaction, the applause was nothing in comparison to the ovation afforded to bronze medal recipient Usain Bolt.

"It (the booing) doesn't upset me because I know what kind of son I raised, what kind of character he has," Willie Gatlin said in quotes reported by several national newspapers.

"The fans booing is disrespectful to the sport. The sport has always been here and is going to be here after he leaves. He created a memory that is going to be in people's minds a long time."

Willie Gatlin also believes his son is a positive role model for the sport given the nature of his comeback from his second ban, which ran for four years from 2006.

"He served his ban and he worked his heart out doing what he could," he added.

"He wasn't just lying around. He worked to come back to the sport and he worked his way back to championship form.

"For the youngsters coming up he is trying to help to tutor and help to be good, clean athletes. He is trying to teach good character and good sportsmanship about themselves.

"I don't think he has regrets, it is a lesson learned. Everything happens for a reason and it gives you teaching moments. We have been through it all and we bear it all."

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport