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Calls for lifetime ban

31 July 2006

Justin Gatlin (Image of Sport) Justin Gatlin (Image of Sport)
World anti-doping chief Dick Pound has demanded Justin Gatlin be banned for life after confirming the sprinter's `B' sample had tested positive for the banned drug testosterone.

The Olympic and world 100m champion announced on Saturday he had failed a drug test following the Kansas Relays in April and now Gatlin's lawyer Cameron Myler, as well as Pound, have confirmed the second sample was also positive.

The joint world record holder (pictured) tested positive for an amphetamine at the 2001 US Junior Championships and although the suspension was later overturned it was not annulled, meaning Gatlin faces the prospect of a lifetime ban after a second offence.

Gatlin will now wait to learn his fate before a United States Anti-Doping Agency hearing.

The 24-year-old's coach Trevor Graham claimed Gatlin's positive test was the result of "sabotage" but Pound, chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), believes the future is very bleak for the athlete.

Pound said: "The B sample is positive. They've gone through the whole exercise and what remains is for the appropriate penalty to be handed out by the US Anti-Doping Agency and that will be reviewed by the international federation (IAAF) and by WADA if we are not satisfied the right result has been achieved.

"He needs to be banned for up to life. There may be some extenuating circumstances to come out but I think if he just continues to come out with some bland denial that `I never did anything, I can't imagine how this result occurred' that will not help him when it comes to sentencing. If they can find someone who did in fact spike it then it is for them to prove but short of something like that I think he has a very serious problem.

"If the world anti-doping code is properly applied and it is a second sanction, he is exposed to a life ban."

Asked what he would say to Gatlin, Pound added: "I'd say `listen, if you did it you might as well confess and be a man about it otherwise you'll be dragged kicking and screaming into disrepute."

Pound was also quick to question Graham's credibility pointing out that a large number of his athletes have failed drugs test - the most famous being former world record holder Tim Montgomery - and that Graham was heavily involved in the Balco case.

"Bear in mind Trevor Graham himself is being investigated by the grand jury because a surprising number of his athletes have been found guilty of doping offences," said Pound.

Gatlin's lawyer Myler claimed the athlete was in shock after hearing about his positive test last month.

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