Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt is set to run his final individual race on Saturday at the IAAF World Championships in London. Among those he will be competing against is Germany's Julian Reus.
DW: Julian Reus, what are your expectations as you head to the world athletics championships in London?
Julian Reus: The most important thing is to be able to say when it is over that I've given my best on the day, run a good race. Then I will be satisfied with the result.
At the world championships in Beijing two years ago you made it to the semifinals. So is your goal to reach the final this time?
That would amount to the fulfillment of a dream. But the international competition in sprinting is really strong. To get to the final in the 100 meters you'll need to achieve a time of 10.0 seconds, in the 200 meters 20.2 seconds. These are the times you have to run to place among the best.
The 100-meter dash on Saturday (August 5, 2017) will be Usain Bolt's last individual race. What are your thoughts on this exceptional sprinter, with whom you have often crosses paths?
His achievements speak for themselves. He has won everything there was for him to win in recent years. But this focus on him has always bothered me a little. Athletics has much more to offer, other disciplines, other battles. I hope that in sprinting things will change after Bolt is gone. I hope the one-on-one battles will come to the fore again.
However, he is no longer a nine-time Olympic champion, but only an eight-time gold medalist after one of his relay teammates, Nesta Carter, tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The drug-testing regimen in Jamaica is generally considered lax. Do you think that is in the back of people's minds when they see Bolt run?
It is widely known that the 100-meter sprint is not clean. Nine of the 10 fastest people at this distance have tested positive or have been associated with doping. That pains me because I just love the sprint. Nonetheless, I try to perform as well as I can and not think about, what might be or how the others are performing..
The European Athletic Association (EAA) intends to introduce new lists of records on January 1, 2018, because doping is suspected to have been at large when older records were taken. How do you feel about that?
I am skeptical about this. It is easy to delete these records. But will this really change anything in the future? Nobody can say for sure. For me, it would be more important to have the confidence that all associations and organizations are doing everything to ensure that sports are clean. Deleting all of these world records won't give me that feeling. To do that, other things need to happen, not just a one-off action.
What needs to happen?
More stringent, uniform and independent controls. A television documentary really made me think about things. It showed that there were cases of clenbuterol doping in Beijing in 2008. However, this was not investigated. Something like this mustn't be allowed to happen again. As an athlete, you want to have the feeling that the federations follow up on every little piece of information - and then vigorously go after those involved in doping. It is a matter of credibility.
Do you see any reason for hope that this will become a reality anytime soon?
Where money is involved, corruption is not far away. Unfortunately, I fear that as long as I am active in the sport, nothing will change.
Julian Reus is Germany's fastest sprinter. He has been the German men's champion in the 100 meters for the past five years. At the national championship in Erfurt this year, he won both the 100- and 200-meter titles. He holds the German record in the 100 meters with a time of 10.01 seconds.
The interview was conducted by Herbert Schalling.