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Gatlin given ban

23 August 2006
www.gazettelive.co.uk

Justin Gatlin Justin Gatlin
By Liz Byrnes

World and Olympic 100 metres champion Justin Gatlin has been banned for a maximum of eight years by the United States Anti-Doping Agency after admitting he committed "a doping violation".

The 24-year-old American (pictured left) was facing the prospect of a life ban after testing positive for testosterone at the Kansas Relays on April 22 but was spared after agreeing to "co-operate in the effort to eradicate the use of drugs from sport."

Gatlin first failed a drugs test five years ago when amphetamines were found in his samples at the USA Junior Championships.

Although the IAAF later accepted he was using the medication to treat Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), it was still registered as a first offence and under the two-strikes rule, Gatlin faced being thrown out of the sport for good.

Under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code a second ban should constitute a lifetime ban unless the athlete can produce a compelling reason to have it reduced.

However, Gatlin, who is also set to be stripped of the world record he holds jointly with Asafa Powell, has agreed to co-operate with the authorities "by providing information that may assist in USADA's anti-doping efforts."

In making the agreement Gatlin can still appeal to an arbitration panel - under the USADA Protocol for Olympic Movement Testing - in the next six months to have the eight-year ban reduced.

A statement from USADA chief executive officer Terry Madden read: "The nature of Gatlin's first offence for use of his medication puts this violation in a unique category."

"Given these circumstances, and consistent with the international CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) precedent, a maximum of an eight-year suspension is a fair and just outcome."

The ban began on August 15 although Gatlin started serving a provisional ban on July 25, meaning his suspension will run until July 24, 2014, if he fails to get it reduced.

United States Track and Field chief executive officer Craig Masback said: "Justin Gatlin's doping case has been a setback in our sport.

"While we are glad Justin has taken responsibility for his positive test and will co-operate in USADA's anti-doping efforts, we are sorely disappointed in him."

"Our Zero Tolerance programme is focused on educating athletes about the importance of winning with integrity."

"This case is a clear signal that we must redouble our efforts."

Gatlin is coached by Trevor Graham, who is himself under investigation because of the large number of his athletes who have been involved in doping cases, the most famous before Gatlin being Tim Montgomery who was stripped of his world record.



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