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Gatlin hires Landis' legal team

13 January 2008

Disgraced American sprinter Justin Gatlin has retained cyclist Floyd Landis' legal team in a bid to reverse a U.S. arbitration panel's decision to ban him for doping, the attorney told Reuters on Saturday.

"We plan on moving very quickly because speed is of the essence," Maurice Suh said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles.

Both the Olympic 100-meter champion Gatlin and his parents want the 25-year-old vindicated and competing again as soon as possible, Suh said.

Earlier this month, a three-member American Arbitration Association panel banned Gatlin for a 2006 positive doping test, ruling it was Gatlin's second positive result.

Gatlin, suspended through May 24, 2010, can appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), take his earlier positive back to the International Association of Athletics Federations or challenge the arbitration ruling in federal court.

The IAAF could also appeal the decision and was considering its response, spokesman Nick Davies told Reuters.

Gatlin, a teenager at the time, tested positive in 2001 for an amphetamine contained in a medication he took for 10 years for Attention Deficit Disorder.

He was suspended for two years but the IAAF later found Gatlin had not intentionally committed a doping violation and reinstated him after one year.

The IAAF added that any repetition of the 2001 positive test would result in a life ban.

But the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in a 2006 agreement with Gatlin said it would not seek a ban of no more than eight years in return for the sprinter not contesting the accuracy of laboratory results for his April 2006 positive test for the banned male sex hormone testosterone and its precursors.

Gatlin denied knowingly taking banned substances and asked the U.S. hearing panel to clear him or further reduce his ban.

American rider Landis was also banned for two years following a positive test for testosterone and stripped of his 2006 Tour de France victory.

Landis is contesting the results of the test and his suspension with the CAS, with an appeal hearing set for New York in March.

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