Justin Gatlin agreed with the complaints of the Jamaican relay team that a long wait before their 4x100m final at the World Championships on Saturday contributed to the injury suffered by Usain Bolt in his last race.
Bolt, having been passed the baton by Yohan Blake, was in third behind Great Britain and the United States, who eventually won gold and silver, but pulled up almost 50m from the line and fell to the track.
Jamaica’s team doctor later said that the 30-year-old had suffered a hamstring cramp.
Bolt’s teammates complained that a 45-minute wait in the call room before the race had hampered their preparations.
“I think they were holding us too long in the call room,’’ Blake told reporters. “Usain was really cold. In fact Usain said to me `Yohan, I think this is crazy. Forty minutes and two medal presentations before our run.’’
Gatlin, who beat Bolt to gold in the 100m last Saturday, agreed with the complaints and laid the blame at the television scheduling for the event.
“I know it’s TV magic, and everybody has to be prepared on time to make everything happen for the viewers at home.
“(But) I personally think that we were held in the stadium a little too long without our clothes on, and there was a little draught in there. I lost all my sweat and body heat,’’ Gatlin said.
When asked if he thought that contributed to Bolt’s injury, the 35-year-old said: “I believe so.
“Knowing how Usain performs, he’s always ready, he’s always making sure he’s not injured and it’s very rare to see Usain injured when he comes to performances.’’
Gatlin ran the second leg for the United States as they finished runners-up behind Britain, who became world champions for the first time.
Amidst the home crowd’s jubilation, there was also relief at the sight of Bolt being able to walk off the track after being helped to his feet by his teammates.
“I’m not sure what the extent of his injury is, but when I saw him go down I thought it was a calf cramp or a hamstring cramp. But he walked off the track, so that’s good thing.
“I hope that he gets well soon,’’ Gatlin added.