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Gatlin starts doping-ban appeal

30 July 2007

Justin Gatlin's attempt to reduce the length of his eight-year ban for doping will be heard at a two-day hearing in Atlanta on Monday and Tuesday.

The Olympic 100m champion was handed the ban by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) after failing a drugs test in April 2006.

The arbitration panel could take several weeks before making a decision.

Gatlin, 25, has accepted testing positive but claims he never knowingly used banned substances.

The American gave a positive test at the low-level Kansas Relays last year.

It was his second failed drugs test and, under the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) code, he should have been given a lifetime ban.

But Usada, in exchange for Gatlin agreeing to cooperate with its anti-doping campaign and in recognition of the exceptional circumstances of his first failure, decided on an eight-year ban.

He failed his first test in 2001 when amphetamines were found in his samples at the USA Junior Championships.

But it was accepted that medicine he had been taking for 10 years to control attention-deficit disorder was the reason for the failed test.

Gatlin was suspended for two years, but world governing body the IAAF reinstated him after one year.

He has not competed since winning the 100m at the US national championships in June 2006, but has reportedly trained with two NFL American Football teams.

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