Usain Bolt denied Justin Gatlin’s 100m victory was a calamity for athletics and continued to defend the American after he upset his expected golden send-off.
The Jamaican sprint king also bristled at a question that suggested slower times at this year’s World Championships were in direct relation to stronger doping controls.
Gatlin, banned twice for doping violations, won the 100m title in 9.92secs in London on Saturday, with Bolt third behind Christian Coleman in his final solo race before retirement.
Gatlin was jeered on to the top of podium as the least popular 100m world champion in history returned to the London Stadium to be presented with his gold medal by Lord Coe.
After the race Bolt was angered by a suggestion this year’s slower times came after a doping crackdown and insisted Gatlin had nothing to answer for now.
He said: “I’m sure everyone takes that very disrespectfully. We’ve proved we’ve worked hard; Justin has done his time over the years and has proven himself over and over again.
“I have proven myself over and over again. For you (a journalist) to just directly state something like that (slow times may be in relation to tighter doping controls), I take that as disrespectful. Justin was the better man and he executed it well. For me he deserves to be here because he’s done his time and worked hard to get back to be one of the best athletes.”