'Ridiculous and unfair': Controversy erupts as US star usurps Usain Bolt

Christian Coleman of the United States has won the world championship gold medal in the men's 100 meters, three weeks after avoiding a ban for missed drug tests.

Coleman started well and extended his lead down the stretch to win in 9.76 seconds.

Defending champion Justin Gatlin finished second in the marquee event of the championships. Andre de Grasse of Canada was third.

“At the end, all my worries just evaporated out there,” said Coleman, 23.

“It was a crazy feeling. To add my name to the list of the legendary guys who've come before me is an honour and a blessing.”

In 2017, Coleman was the silver medalist behind his American teammate Gatlin, both beating Usain Bolt in his last individual race. In Doha, they ran side-by-side, but the 37-year-old Gatlin never really threatened.

Christian Coleman celebrates after claiming 100m gold. (Photo by Serhat Cagdas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Gatlin said he had reached out to support Coleman when the younger runner faced a potential ban.

“Justin Gatlin is a great guy and a great competitor,” Coleman said.

“He's always been there. I remember watching him back in 2004, when I was 8 years old, and to think all these years later, I could come and win gold too is a great feeling.”

Coleman beat his personal best by 0.03 seconds to become the sixth-fastest man in history, overtaking Nesta Carter and Maurice Greene in the all-time standings.

It was the first world 100 final since 2005 without Bolt. The legendary Jamaican sprinter's world record of 9.58, now a decade old, was 0.18 faster than Coleman's time.

From Atlanta, Coleman won NCAA titles in the 100 and 200 for the University of Tennessee in 2017. He took the US title in the 100 in July.

Christian Coleman crosses the finish line first. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Controversy over missed drug tests

Coleman was initially charged with failing to provide accurate information on his whereabouts for drug testing, missing three tests over 12 months.

The US Anti-Doping Agency has never reported a positive drug test for Coleman. The agency said Coleman has been tested on 20 separate occasions in 2018 and 2019. He missed a drug test on April 26, his third missed test since June 2018.

But the World Anti-Doping Agency's interpretation of the rule backdated his first failure to April 1, 2018, instead of the date it occurred, June 6, 2018. On Sept. 2, USADA said that technicality meant there weren't three failures within 12 months, and it would not pursue the case.

In contrast to the boos that greeted Gatlin's victory in London two years ago - a reference to his two previous suspensions for doping - the reception for Coleman was warm at the lightly attended event in the Qatari capital.

However some on social media thought he shouldn’t have been there.