London [UK] : Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who had to settle for bronze in the 100m on Saturday night at the World Championships after being defeated by Justin Gatlin, has hailed the American as one of the best competitors he has faced.
Gatlin surprised everyone with a season’s best 9.92 as he denied Bolt his last individual gold medal.Christian Coleman (9.94) took silver, with Bolt clocking 9.95 seconds.
Gatlin, a two-time dope cheat, was greeted with boos while he was handed his gold at Sunday’s medal ceremony.
But, Bolt, the eight-time Olympic Gold winner, insisted that the reactions of the crowd were unfair.
“I always respected him as a competitor,” the Guardian quoted Bolt as saying. “He’s one of the best I have faced.
“For me he deserves to be here, he’s done his time and he’s worked hard to get back to being one of the best athletes. He’s run fast times, he’s back and he’s doing great. I look at him like any other athlete, as a competitor,” he added.
Bolt, who will be turning 31 this month, also insisted that he has no regrets, adding that he tried his best.
“I have no regrets,” Bolt said.
“I came out and did my best; win, lose or draw. I did it for the fans, they wanted me to do one more season. No one is going to be happy to not win. But it doesn’t change anything in my career,” he added.
Meanwhile, 35-year-old Gatlin also paid his tribute to Bolt and said that the Jamaican’s exit would leave a massive hole in track and field.
“Usain is a great athlete, a great man,” he said. “He leaves a huge void with his character and athleticism. I respect him utmost. Every time we come across the finish line I shake his hand, I gave him a hug and tell him congratulations.”
This was not the last time the world saw the eight-time Olympic champion on the track though, as the 30-year-old is set to race in August 12’s 4x100m final.
Bolt holds the world record for the 100m (9.58 seconds), the 200m (19.19 seconds) and the 4x100m relay (36.84 seconds). At the Rio Olympics in 2016, Bolt won the 100m in 9.81 seconds.