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Powell might not have to share the world record after all

2 August 2006

By Gary Smith

Jamaican sprint ace, Asafa Powell, the current joint-world record holder over 100-metre, could stand as the sole possessor after his main challenger and the second half of the duo Justin Gatlin admitted to failing a drug test prior to equalling the world mark.

Gatlin, the World and Olympic 100m champion, confirmed on Saturday he had failed the doping test after a relay race in Kansas in April and the results reportedly showed his 'A' and 'B' samples had evidence of "5-alpha androstandiol and 5-beta androstandiol, among the metabolites of testosterone."

"It is unfortunate, but it is true," Gatlin's attorney, Cameron Myler, was quoted as saying in a report on Saturday.

After Powell sizzled to the world mark of 9.77 seconds at an Athens Grand Prix meeting in Greece last summer, Gatlin matched that performance at the IAAF Super Grand Prix Meeting in Doha, Qatar in May. The American had initially raced to a world record mark of 9.76sec, but that performance was revised by the governing body of the sport, the IAAF, after Tissot Timing, the company responsible for the time keeping at the meeting informed them of an error in the reading of the result.

Powell has been in electrifying form this season, racing to nine sub-10 seconds timing already this season - five more than he did at this point in total last year, before pulling up with a groin injury at the Norwich Union London Grand Prix, a meeting which he dominated this year.

The 23-year-old Jamaican has been searching for that extra drive in his performance the would help to gain sole ownership of the world record and though this surely wouldn't be the way he dreamed of obtaining it when he rests at nights, Powell would have no problem accepting it this way.

Meanwhile American legend Michael Johnson, the World 200m and 400m record holder and former Olympic champion in the disciplines, said Gatlin should be banned for life with confirmed 'A' and 'B' samples, unless he can evidently verify he unwillingly took the banned substance.

"With a confirmed A and B sample (he) should be banned for life unless he can quickly come up with proof that he did not knowingly take a banned substance," Johnson, a five-time Olympic gold medallist, said.

"Circumstantial evidence produced by Gatlin, his coach and his lawyers that someone else is responsible should not be nearly enough."

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