'I didn't miss three tests' - Christian Coleman defends himself after 100m gold in Doha

17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 - Day Two

Christian Coleman must have thought he'd walked into a shooting gallery, not a press conference, on Saturday night in Doha.

The American had just obliterated the planet's best sprinters to crown himself the 100-metre world champion, while his compatriot Justin Gatlin bagged silver and Andre de Grasse took the bronze.

However, such a storming performance couldn't save him from the inevitable questions about his alleged missed doping tests.

If it wasn't for what appeared to be a technicality, Coleman wouldn't have been in the Qatari capital in the first place and his explanations have left athletics fans wanting.

After a solitary question concerning the race, Michael Johnson's suggestion that Coleman can never be the face of athletics were used as the entry wound for the operation. 

Coleman responds to Michael Johnson

Coleman responded with unexpected joviality: “Michael Johnson doesn’t pay my bills or sign my cheques so I don’t necessarily care what he has to say.

“I think the face of the sport goes to the people who are putting up good performances
and representing the sport in the right way.”

The 23-year-old faced up to every question that came his way and 'I didn't do anything wrong' became something of a catchphrase as the probing intensified.

17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 - Day Two

Coleman on how he can improve

"At the end of the day it’s not something I focus on," Coleman added. "I didn’t miss three tests so it’s a false accusation. This is a first-time thing and I’ve been tested a lot of times.

“I guess I can be more mature about it and more diligent about updating the system, but I did everything the right way and tried to be a model citizen and a good model for the sport.”

It would have been worth one million Qatari Riyal, not a penny, for Gatlin's thoughts on the episode.

One of the most interesting conversations about the topic had actually taken place in Brussels earlier in the month, where a number of world-class athletes discussed the testing system.

17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 - Day Two

Intense press conference

Nafissatou Thiam and Noah Lyles explained how silly mistakes - such as mistyping PM instead of AM on the app - can easily produce a solitary missed test. 

But the alleged three in one year? Brittney Reese put it best when she said that it's simply 'not that hard' to update your whereabouts.

Of course, there's absolutely no proof that Coleman is a cheater, but it's inevitable that a sport kneecapped by doping will smell suspicion when cases like this emerge.

I love athletics, we love athletics and everybody in that press conference loves athletics, we just want the necessary answers to clear the dark cloud over Coleman's head.

ATHLETICS-WORLD-2019

Tension after Coleman's win

One member of the US team eventually left the room with the utterance: 'That was ridiculous.' 

But the concerns that Coleman's situation raise just can't be forgotten all of sudden, brushed under the carpet or shelved as a sporting taboo. It's only right that it's tackled head on.

Whether Coleman likes it or not, he'll continue to be stalked by questions about the missed tests just as the spectre of doping haunts the sport as a whole.

As long as that's the case, athletics' new king will be seen to wear a crown of thorns.

ATHLETICS-WORLD-2019 News Now - Sport News