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Lewis-Francis hopes Powell is clean

14 December 2006

By Gary Smith

British Olympic and European sprint relay gold medalist, Mark Lewis-Francis, is hoping that Jamaican World record holder, Asafa Powell, is clean and free from using drugs, following the suspension of several top athletes, including American Olympic and World champion Justin Gatlin.

Lewis-Francis said the suspension of Gatlin came as a big surprise to him - one which he received with great disappointment and he hopes Powell, who plays a huge role in promoting the sport in this era, is clean.

"I've known Asafa (Powell) for a couple of years now and for me Asafa is a cool guy," the 24-year-old former World Junior champion said. "I hope he's not [on drugs], I pray he's not, because if he is that is going to hurt the sport so badly. I hope he's clean."

Lewis-Francis, who is currently preparing for next year's indoor season and targeting a medal at the European Indoors in March, said he would have loved to see the match up between Powell and Gatlin.

"I would have loved to have seen the race, Gatlin and Asafa Powell," he said. "That was what I was waiting for.

"That would have been great to see, but if you cheat you are going to get caught. Like anything in life. If you lie you'll get found out."

Lewis-Francis, a former IAAF World Indoor Championship bronze medallist from Lisboa in 2001, has labelled Gatlin a "dirty athlete", after the American tested positive, for a second time, for using a banned substance.

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