Usain Bolt says Olympic ban on Russian athletes will ‘scare a lot of people’

Usain Bolt arrives for his Anniversary Games press conference. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Reuters

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• Jamaican welcomes ‘strong message’ sent out to athletes
• Sprinter fit for Anniversary Games after hamstring scare

Usain Bolt has backed a decision to uphold the ban on Russia’s track and field athletes competing at the Rio Olympics, saying the sport needed to make a statement because “doping violations are getting really bad”.

Bolt, who will defend his 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay titles next month, also claimed the exposure of widespread Russian cheating would act as a deterrent to athletes thinking of taking performance-enhancing drugs.

“This will scare a lot of people and send a strong message that the sport is serious about cleaning up,” he said. “For me if you have the proof and you catch somebody I definitely feel you should take action. If they feel like banning the whole team is the right action, then I am all for it.

“Rules are rules and doping violations in track and field are getting really bad, so thumbs up.”

The Jamaican was responding to the decision by the court of arbitration for sport to uphold the ban on 68 Russian track and field athletes made by athletics’ governing body, the IAAF.

But Bolt refused to be drawn on whether the entire Russian Olympic team should be banned from Rio, saying: “that’s a tricky question”. The International Olympic Committee will make that decision at an emergency meeting on Sunday.

“I don’t stress about these things, I leave it up to the big heads to make this decision. These are sideshows, and if you get caught up in these things as athletes then you lose focus of the goal in hand. I have to focus on me going there and defending my titles.”

Bolt, who will compete over 200m in the Anniversary Games on Friday night, insisted he was back in top form after pulling out of the Jamaican trials earlier this month with a hamstring strain. He has visited the German doctor Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt in Marseille since the injury.

Some critics have raised questions about Müller-Wohlfahrt, who uses unconventional techniques such as injecting calves’ blood, honey and extracts from crests of cockerels into his patients, but Bolt insisted the doctor made a huge difference to extending his career.

“I’ve been going there for years,” he said. “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 OK and I can compete and I can stay on track.”

Then, without prompting, Bolt pointed to a plaster on his arm and insisted the world could trust him. “I’m tested all the time, years upon years,” he said.

“I got tested this morning. The IAAF test me all the time, the World Anti-Doping Agency test me, everybody tests me. I have all the trust in my doctor and I support him 100%.”

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