Botswana's Isaac Makwala is prevented from running.
Botswana's Isaac Makwala is prevented from running.

'Sabotage': Conspiracy theory sweeps world athletics championships

BOTSWANA track star Isaac Makwala has accused the IAAF of "sabotage" after it prevented from him from contesting the 400m final at the world championships in London on medical grounds..

The 30-year-old was expected to be the big challenger to South African Olympic champion Wayde van Niekerk, who would claim the first leg of his bid to win the 200m-400m double.

"They said I had food poisoning - which I don't have. I was not tested for that," Makwala told British TV network ITV.

"They didn't even want to listen to me. They said 'no, you can't run because you are sick.' Sometimes I think maybe this is sabotage.

"I asked myself 'what if I was a Great British guy, would they not allow me to run?'"

American legend and now BBC commentator Michael Johnson was disappointed with the decision to ban Makwala.

"The elephant in the room is that Wayde van Niekerk is an IAAF favourite, a fan favourite, he's a favourite of everyone," he said.

"He's the world record holder, champion, the Olympic champion and now the only person, that was his challenger - Isaac Makwala, who was going to double as well - who has fastest time in the world this year, 19.74 for 200m and the second-fastest time in the world this year for 400m.

"And now he has been pulled out of both these races. Conspiracy theories are going round."

Athletics' world governing body has defended its decision, saying it was taken to contain the contagious illness.

The IAAF said in a statement issued moments before the final: "The IAAF is very sorry that the hard work and talent of Isaac Makwala won't be on display tonight but we have to think of the welfare of all athletes.

"The athlete was diagnosed with an infectious disease on Monday. As per UK health regulations, it was requested that he be quarantined in his room for 48 hours, a period which ends at 14:00hrs tomorrow (August 9).