Gatlin scorches to 60m gold

2012-03-10 20:33
Justin Gatlin (File)

Istanbul - American Justin Gatlin took another step towards redemption after a four-year doping ban by comprehensively winning the 60m at the World Indoor Athletics Championships on Saturday.

Gatlin, the 2004 Athens Olympics 100m gold medallist and 2003 world indoor sprint champion, powered out of his blocks at the Atakoy Arena and led the field through from gun to tape, timing an impressive 6.46 seconds.

Jamaican Nesta Carter, a key part of his country's world and Olympic gold-medal winning 4x100m relay squads, for once basked in some individual glory with a fighting silver in 6.54.

Defending champion Dwain Chambers of Britain had to be happy with bronze at 6.60 in a photo finish with American Trell Kimmons, who remains the fastest sprinter in the world this season.

"I came here to dominate and I wanted to follow up," said Gatlin. "I just had to make sure that once the gun sounded, I went out.

"I won the 2003 world indoors in Birmingham with exactly the same time and it feels great to be back.

"I have my confidence and I dropped a couple of pounds. I got one medal around my neck and I am now going for the next one."

Chambers's result could not have come at a better time as he waits for the court case that will decide his fate at this summer's London Olympic Games.

The Englishman sent out a reminder that he remains Britain's best sprinter despite finding himself in the ironic position of being unable for the moment to represent his country at the Olympics because of his doping-blighted past.

"It's just a great honour to represent my country and I brought home a medal," said Chambers. "I'm not disappointed about the bronze medal because it is great to get a medal at all.

"Now I just have to keep my head up and look for a bright future."

The former European 100m champion, who was banned for two years after testing positive for the anabolic steroid THG in 2004, is currently unable to appear in the London Games due to a British Olympic Association (BOA) ruling.

The BOA will argue before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Monday that their bylaw, which bans convicted drugs cheats from competing in the Olympic Games, does not violate the World Anti-Doping Association code.

But if CAS find the BOA's bylaw to be non-compliant with the world anti-doping code, Chambers will be cleared to be selected for Team GB.

He has also been unable to compete at Diamond League events because British athletics authorities (UKA) refuse to sanction athletes with doping pasts.

Euro Meetings, organisers of the Diamond League meets, last year withdrew their 2007 recommendation that members not invite athletes who have served drug bans.

That opened up the door for Jamaican Steve Mullings and American duo Gatlin and LaShawn Merritt to run at Diamond League meets this season, but UKA has not changed its policy of not inviting "an athlete who they consider damages the integrity of a competition".

Chambers admitted that the whole process had been vexing.

"I have no idea what the outcome will be, I just go for the moment" he said. "But it does bother me, yes. For two years I've felt welcome in the British team, the athletes support me and I support them.

"The reason for this is that I changed myself, I grew up."


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