World Challenge organisers 'perplexed' by Gatlin's withdrawal
Beijing, May 20 (IANS) The organisers of the World Challenge Series here said on Wednesday they were "perplexed" by reports claiming that star sprinter Justin Gatlin was "kicked out" of the event.
Gatlin's manager Renaldo Nehemiah said on Tuesday that Gatlin was "kicked out" by the organisers after telling them of an injury concern, reports Xinhua.
Gatlin's name was missing from Wednesday night's 100 metres start list and the American, who has served two doping bans, said he left for the airport to fly home to Florida because he was "upset" by the lack of respect shown to him. But on Wednesday, he tweeted that he was "fine" with the organisers.
"Emotional day. All is fine with Beijing Org&me. We have a great relationship and I look forward to being there in Aug for worlds&next year for the meet," he posted on Twitter.
Beijing organisers said they did not understand why Nehemiah failed to communicate with them before he announced Gatlin's withdrawal.
"Nehemiah did not communicate with us before he announced Gatlin's withdrawal at yesterday's news conference. And we never got to speak with Gatlin in person," said Liu Jie, deputy director of the organising committee.
"We had been preparing the event assuming Gatlin would run the race. There was no way we 'kicked out' the athlete. So we have been perplexed by what they said."