Usain Bolt has given a “thumbs up” to the decision to ban the Russian athletics team from the Rio Olympics because of widespread doping.
The IAAF, world athletics’ governing body, banned the Russian team last month and today that decision was rubber-stamped by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
The Swiss-based body rejected an appeal against the hard-line IAAF stance by the Russian Olympic Committee and 68 individual athletes.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s Muller Anniversary Games in London, the 29-year-old Bolt said the situation was “sad” but the decision would send a powerful message about clean sport.
“For me, if you have the proof and you catch somebody, I definitely feel you should take action,” Jamaica’s six-time Olympic sprint champion said.
“If you feel like banning the whole team is the right action, then I’m all for it.
“Rules are rules and doping violations in track and field (are) getting really bad, so if you feel like you need to make a statement, and this is how you feel like you need to make a statement, then thumbs up.”
Bolt has set his sights on breaking his 200 metres world record at the Rio Olympics after declaring himself fit and ready to race following a visit to his controversial German doctor.
The six-time Olympic champion faces a key test of his fitness when he races for the first time since pulling out of the Jamaican trials with a hamstring strain - and the first time over 200m all season - at the Muller Anniversary Games in London tonight.
“I went to see the doctor to work his magic as always, I’m good,” the 29-year-old told a packed press conference.
“My hamstrings are good, I have no issues right now. The doctor did an extremely good job. I know I’m in good shape.”
Bolt’s doctor is the renowned Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt, the 73-year-old Germany national team doctor known as ‘Healing Hans’. He has treated a host of the world’s leading sports stars, but whose unorthodox methods - including his use of homeopathy and calves’ blood injections - divide opinion.
The Jamaican, who sported a plaster on his left arm following a drug test on Thursday morning, visited him in Marseille, where he was with the Germany squad at Euro 2016, a fortnight ago.
He said: “I’ve been going there for years. I have a really bad back problem and every year it gets worse.
“He’s the only person I’ve been to over the years that has figured out a way to make sure my back is okay and I can compete and I can stay on track.
“I’m tested all the time, years upon years. I got tested this morning. The IAAF (athletics’ world governing body) test me all the time, WADA (the World Anti-Doping Agency) test me, everybody tests me.
“I have all the trust in my doctor and I support him 100%.”
Bolt’s outing at the Olympic Stadium, the scene of his three Olympic gold medal wins at London 2012 in the 100m, 200m and sprint relay, will be his last before the Rio Games, where he will bid for an unprecedented ‘triple triple’ of Olympic crowns.
His absence from Rio would have been a hammer blow to the event - it is difficult to imagine a star has ever been more important to his sport than Bolt is to athletics, especially in the current climate.
He insisted, however, he was “never really worried” his hopes of competing in Brazil might be in danger, despite admitting he would probably have torn his hamstring “really badly” had he competed at the trials.
“I’ll definitely be there,” he said. “This is where history is going to be made. I’m looking forward to going down there and doing my best and putting on a show for the whole world to see.”
And that show, he believes, could include breaking his 200m world record of 19.19 seconds, set back in 2009 at the World Championships in Berlin.
Bolt said: “I think the competition, the energy, the work they have to put in to win the 100m in Rio will help my 200m and that’s really my focus, trying to break the 200m world record.”
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