Usain Bolt talks exclusivily to Reuters

Usain Bolt tells Reuters he hopes new athletics chief Sebastian Coe will get rid of doping and says he is on top form to beat rival Justin Gatlin at the World Athletics Championships.

BEIJING, CHINA (AUGUST 20) (REUTERS) – In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Usain Bolt said he trusts the new head of world athletics Sebastian Coe will take the necessary measures to eradicate doping from the sport.

The governing International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has spent the three weeks leading up to the World Athletics Championships defending its record on doping after a string of embarrassing leaks.

Britain’s Coe was elected as new IAAF president on Wednesday (August 1) and has promised to set up an independent anti-doping body for the sport.

“It’s been a lot of doping in the headlines as you said over the last couple of months, it’s really sad that this is where the sport is right now, he told Reuters on Thursday (August 20) in Beijing.

“So hopefully, the new president (of the International Associations of Athletics Federations Sebastian Coe) can put into place a lot of change a lot of rules and make things easier for the sport to be better. So we will see what happens.” he added.

Bolt, who will turn 29 on Friday (August 21) said he believed tougher regulations will help in the fight against doping.

“It’s going to be hard (to get rid of doping), I think. If you make harder rules, definitely less people will take a chance,” he said.

“I think you will always have one person or a few persons who always feel they can .

beat the system because it’s just like life – people sometimes think they can beat the system,” he added.

In the midst of the doping crisis, the Beijing sprint showdown between Bolt, who has never failed a drugs test, and in-form American Justin Gatlin, who has served two suspensions for using banned substances, has been billed as a battle for the soul of the sport.

Gatlin’s second positive test, in 2006, would normally have earned him a lifetime ban but after he agreed to co-operate with the anti-doping authorities that was cut to eight, and then four years.

Bolt said he saw no problem about competing against Gatlin.

“For me, I just see it as high stake race of two athletes who know to compete. For me, I never worried about because at the end of the day we are two athletes at the top of our games who have to compete. So, that is how I see it,” the Jamaican said.

Bolt feels he is in top form again despite having raced less than he would have liked to this year because of a problem with his joints.

He thinks Gatlin would have to better his personal best of 9.74 seconds to take the 100m title.

“I’m definitely in good shape, I’ve been training, I’ve definitely slimmed down a little bit more and everything has being going smoothly and I am in good shape,” he said.

Bolt set the 100 metres world record (9.58 seconds) and 200m (19.19) at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin and while he might not be in the form to challenge those records, he thinks the 9.69 he ran to win Beijing gold in the shorter sprint might be within reach.

“For me, all championships, that’s what I aim for, to win three gold medals. That is always my aim come the championship. But to do it again in Beijing would be great. And to break the stadium record would be even better.”

It was at the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing that Bolt first established himself as the sport’s biggest star, winning both sprint titles and a relay gold, all in world record times, at the 2008 Olympics.

The world championships run from Saturday (August 22) to 30 in Beijing.