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Justin Gatlin cannot run in Beijing

24 June 2008

While U.S. sports officials must abide by an American court ruling allowing Justin Gatlin to race at the U.S. Olympic trials, world bodies made it clear the banned 100-meter Olympic champion is not eligible to participate in either the games or other international events.

"He will not be allowed to run in any international competition during the period of his suspension," International Association of Athletics Federations spokesman Nick Davies told Reuters on Tuesday.

Davies's comments in an e-mail from IAAF headquarters in Monaco echoed a similar statement from the International Olympic Committee.

"Pursuant to the sanction that was imposed upon Mr. Gatlin as a consequence of an anti-doping violation, Mr. Gatlin is not eligible to compete in the 2008 Beijing Olympic games," the IOC said in a letter to the U.S. Olympic Committee as Gatlin fought the terms of his doping ban in a U.S. court.

Gatlin was suspended for four years for a 2006 positive doping test and has had an appeal denied by the Lausanne-based Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

But a federal judge in his hometown of Pensacola, Fla., last week issued a temporary restraining order barring the IAAF, USOC, USA Track & Field and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency from preventing Gatlin from competing in the American trials, which begin on Friday in Eugene, Ore.

Judge Lacey Collier was expected to rule on Tuesday on a motion by Gatlin's attorney for a preliminary injunction that would allow the 26-year-old Gatlin to participate in the selection meeting.

Attorneys for the four sports organizations argued at a hearing on Monday that U.S. courts did not have any jurisdiction with regard to Gatlin's suspension and that he would have to go to the Swiss high court to lodge any appeal.

Davies said the IAAF agreed.

"We consider CAS decisions to be final and binding and do not think that a U.S. court has jurisdiction over rules of international track and field," he told Reuters.

The IOC and attorneys for the four sports bodies said Gatlin's recourse was to take the case to the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

However, Gatlin alleged in a lawsuit against the four bodies that the Americans with Disabilities Act was violated when an arbitration panel used a 2001 positive test by Gatlin to increase his penalty for the 2006 offense.

The sprinter tested positive in the 2001 case for amphetamines that were part of a medication to treat Attention Deficit Disorder.

Using the earlier doping test to increase his penalty for the second doping offense amounted to discrimination, Gatlin's lawyer, Joseph Zarzaur, said on Monday.

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