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Judge lifts reinstatement, Gatlin off track

25 June 2008

A U.S. federal judge blocked on Tuesday a bid by banned Olympic 100-meter champion Justin Gatlin to compete in this week's American trials for the Beijing games.

Judge Lacey Collier lifted a 10-day restraining order that would have allowed the 26-year-old Gatlin to take part in the trials in Eugene, Ore., starting on Friday.

The judge ruled that determining the United States' participation in the Olympic games was the "exclusive jurisdiction" of the United States Olympic Committee.

"As courts have indeed held, issues regarding whether an athlete is eligible to participate in the Olympic games or any of its qualifying events are reserved solely for the USOC, and the courts have no jurisdiction to entertain a private right of action that might impinge upon an eligibility determination," Collier wrote in his ruling.

Gatlin was banned for four years in 2006 after testing positive for the male sex hormone testosterone.

The offense was considered a second doping violation as Gatlin had also tested positive in 2001 for amphetamines that were part of a medication to treat Attention Deficit Disorder.

Collier issued the restraining order on Friday prohibiting the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the USOC, USA Track & Field and the International Association of Athletics Federations from barring Gatlin from the trials because of the suspension.

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