Botswana’s athletics poster boy, Isaac Makwala, who was barred from running at the World Championships as organisers tried to halt a norovirus outbreak, says the same would not have happened to Mo Farah or Usain Bolt.
Isaac Makwala told journalists at the World championship venue that his “heart was broken” after being denied entry to Tuesday’s 400m final in London.
The 30-year-old, who was withdrawn by organisers, the IAAF, “due to a medical condition”, questioned how officials could know he was ill, without tests. He said he felt he was “sabotaged”.
Tuesday’s race was won by Olympic champion and world record holder, Wayde Van Niekerk, who – in the week, was described as the “new superstar of athletics”. “There is something fishy they do not want to tell us,” said Makwala. “It is not that I was sick, there is something more to it.
“How can they just look at you and see that you are sick? If they had tested me I would not have that problem, but they just assumed. Usain Bolt is out now so the IAAF wants someone to be the face of athletics.” An allegation that he would have beaten the South African sensation which the IAAF is propping to take the poster boy now that the Jamaican sensation had bowed out of the sport.
In response, the athletics’ governing body told said: “there is nothing we want more than extraordinary competition in these championships. We freed up the competition schedule to allow this to happen, specifically between these two athletes by allowing the opportunity to double up at 200m and 400m.”
At a Diamond League meeting in Monaco in July, Makwala ran 43.84, but still finished behind the South African (43.73). “After I saw him cross the line on Tuesday I was like, this was my time. He ran a normal time. I was on top shape for a faster time,” Makwala said.
“The British would never have allowed it if I was Mo Farah or Wayne Rooney. In Botswana we have to pay to train, this is not like Britain. I feel this has been a waste of money and training,” he added.
The IAAF acknowledged Makwala’s absence was “a sad case” but said its medical staff examined the athlete and notes taken by a doctor showed he had been vomiting over an 18-hour period.
He was dramatically reinstated into the 200m at the world championships – before running a solo time trial in 20.20sec to make the semi-finals, and then, only two hours later, qualifying for Thursday’s final after going 0.06 sec quicker.
The entire events has resulted in the IAAF being accused of a lack of professionalism.