USAIN Bolt is supposed to be the saviour of athletics, but I’m not so sure.

The Jamaican claimed his 10th world title in the Bird’s Nest yesterday and handed out another lesson to two-time drugs cheat Justin Gatlin in the process.

Bolt looked almost back to his imperious best as he gleefully flew over the line in a time of 19.55secs, leaving the American baddie in their Good vs Evil tussle in his wake.

Very few people thought the sprint king would be able to reach the heights he first set in Beijing at the 2008 Olympic Games.

So his triumphant return, to rescue the sport from the grips of a doping scandal, must have been met with a collective sigh of relief by everyone at the IAAF.

There should, however, be a word of warning here – the actions of one hero cannot be allowed to mask over the size of the problem facing athletics.

How many of the pretenders to Bolt’s throne must now be thinking if he can produce this kind of performance in a season punctuated by injury then what hope is there for us?

And that opens the door to the drug peddlers – the true criminals in all of this.

Gatlin has rightly been castigated by the world’s media for his unapologetic stance.

The IAAF twice found him guilty of taking performance-enhancing drugs and it was only after serving a six-year ban that he was able to compete again on the world stage.

What everyone feared, that this brash young man would publically dethrone the sport’s biggest star, never materialised.

So many people, inside and outside of athletics, came out before Bolt’s shock victory in the 100m last Sunday to say they would turn their backs on the sport if the unthinkable happened.

Thankfully, it didn’t, but in my view the governing body, led by Sebastian Coe, cannot afford to breathe easy.

Just imagine what Gatlin must have gone to bed thinking last night – that he had done everything he was legally allowed to do to beat his arch nemesis and still came up short.

The easy solution would be to cheat his way to Olympic glory in Rio next year.

As an armchair sports fan, I can't understand the mindset of a drugs cheat. If you can’t be proud of yourself and your achievement, then what’s the point?

But people who devote their entire life to achieving sporting glory clearly don’t always think quite so rationally.

Gatlin was only one of 66 athletes competing in Beijing that had previously served a drugs ban.

Some of those athletes may not have given it a second thought as they took to the needle. Others may have been cajoled into it by their coach or team-mates.

But I like to think many of them only did it out of desperation after continually coming up short.

In many ways, these weak athletes are the true victims of the doping scandal, preyed upon by the evil in the shadows of a corrupt system.

Lord Coe and the IAAF have a duty of care to these young people, as well as to the fans, to rid the sport of the peddlers who seem intent on bringing it to its knees.


Views from the sports desk

Big clubs with spending power and ambition seem intent on unsettling some of England’s most promising footballers.

First West Brom’s 22-year-old striker Saido Berahino and then Everton defender John Stones, aged 21, (pictured) put in transfer requests in order to push through moves to Tottenham and Chelsea respectively.

But should they be so keen to move?

Young talents like Crystal Palace’s winger Wilfried Zaha couldn’t make the grade at Manchester United.

Perhaps these promising stars should be content to hone their skills at a smaller club where they are almost guaranteed first team football before being thrust into top-six clubs where their talents can easily become lost.

Claire Cameron

IF ever there was an example of a spoilt footballer then stand up Mario Balotelli.

The Italian clearly has talent but how many managers and clubs has he let down?

Even arguably one of the game’s greatest managers, Jose Mourinho, got fed up with him at Inter Milan.

Balotelli doesn’t help himself with some of his off-field antics.

Maybe his new, well old as well, club AC Milan have found the solution.

There is apparently a clause in his latest contract that stipulates he must behave away from the actual games.

Good luck with that. Maybe they need to get him a minder or a personal assistant. If it’s good enough for Jermaine Defoe...

David Pye

I CANNOT believe people are talking about the first managerial casualties of a season that is only four games old.

A national newspaper claimed Blackburn manager Gary Bowyer was close the axe ahead of tonight's Ewood Park showdown with Wanderers.

After watching Rovers play Wigan in pre-season, I am surprised to see them languishing near the bottom of the table.

Sometimes, things should be looked at in perspective. Bowyer has had to operate under a transfer embargo, and watch on as some of his best players, such as Rudi Gestede, were sold off.

I can understand the owners want to act before it is too late, but the season is not decided after the first five matches.

Robert Kelly