Controversial sprinter Justin Gatlin ran into a fresh row on Tuesday when he flew home on the eve of the Beijing World Challenge meeting, angrily claiming organisers had told him they did not want him to compete.
The American, who has served two doping bans, had planned to headline the 100m event at Wednesday's meeting despite slight injury concerns but was told he was not wanted.
I'm not the kind of guy to cheat people of their money or let the fans down... that's not what I do
However, organisers of the meeting in the Bird's Nest Stadium ignored repeated requests for a response to Gatlin's claims, leaving no obvious explanation as to why they would want him to leave a meeting where he was the star attraction.
Gatlin, who had ran the fastest 100 metres of his life and the quickest in the world this year at 9.74 seconds in Doha on Friday, told reporters as he left for the airport to fly home to Florida that he was "upset" by the lack of respect shown to him.
The sprinter, who had flown from Doha straight to Beijing on Saturday, said he had initially told organisers that he had suffered cramping in a tight hamstring and dehydration following the flight and was not sure about his fitness to compete.
"I'm upset. I'm the kind of guy who, regardless of whether you think I'm a good or a bad guy, I go off respect and I had enough respect to tell the organisers as soon as I arrived how I felt going into this race," he said.
"I'm not the kind of guy to cheat people of their money or let the fans down... that's not what I do.
Fit to compete
Yet after coming through a training session on Monday, he felt confident he would be fit to compete at a meeting where he has starred before.
"I was happy to stay. I'm fit and ready to run. I was cramping a lot after the fastest my body has ever run. They didn't have any respect for me so they said 'you better leave' and they kicked me out. It makes no sense."
Nehemiah said he had been told by organisers the sprinter would have to pay for all his team's travel and hotel costs, amounting to nearly $12,000, and would not receive his appearance fee.
Former hurdling great Nehemiah added that he would be taking up the matter with the International Association of Athletics Federations. (IAAF).
The meeting organisers have yet to respond to the American's comments.
|The US 4x100m team, including Gatlin (3rd L), was stripped of the silver medal it won at London 2012 following Gay's (2nd L) suspension [Getty Images]