Monaco: Sprint icon Usain Bolt fears he will lose millions of dollars in potential sponsorship as a result of suggestions that he could be barred from competing at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The claim has come from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) as it carried out a probe into the country’s drug testing programme for athletes.
Bolt, who was for the fifth time named the World Athlete of the Year, said he is bothered by the threat to his ability to earn money from the sport.
"It`s really costing me money now and I`m not too happy about that. Track and field is my job, that`s the first thing. I know we`ve been going through a lot when it comes to drug-testing, WADA and the IAAF," Bolt said.
WADA’s probe into Jamaica’s drug testing programme took place after a number of high-profile Jamaican athletes tested positive for banned substances. WADA had warned that athletes from Jamaica - like Bolt - could be prevented from competing in Rio if Jamaican authorities did not address their concerns.
"This actually caused a lot of problems for me and my management. A sponsor came up to us and said `we`d like to sponsor you`. They then used an agency that does background checks to figure out if it`s viable and it came back that WADA had said that I would not be eligible to run at the next Olympics,” said Bolt.
“That information is not correct, so there are a lot of things that are going on with this drugs thing that I really feel they need to clarify because, for me, it`s causing problems when it comes to making money from my sport.”
Bolt’s countrywoman, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who was also awarded the Female Athlete of the Year, threatened that she was prepared to strike if more support was not forthcoming from Jamaican authorities on WADA`s position. However, the legendary Jamaican sprinter is not prepared to walk the picket line with Fraser-Pryce.
"Shelly, you`re on your own with that. It`s hard for me to strike because it`s my job. For me, it`s a big problem that they need to sort out immediately. It`s not helping any athlete at all and it`s really causing problems. We really need to get this out of the way and move past this," said Bolt.