International Athletics

Gatlin beats Gay on comeback

2014-07-03 22:16
Justin Gatlin (AFP)

Lausanne - American Justin Gatlin trumped Tyson Gay on the latter's return from a one-year doping ban, clocking a blistering 9.80 seconds to win the 100m at the Diamond League meeting in Lausanne on Thursday.

Gay, running in lane two inside US champion Mike Rodgers with Gatlin in four, got off to a clean start.

Head down, he powered into his drive phase, but Gatlin had the measure of Gay and put in an impressive second half of the race to steam home, only six sprinters having gone quicker. Gay clocked 9.93.

"I'm happy to be back, back on the circuit," said Gay. "It feels like I didn't miss a beat. Of course, I was worried about the reception I'd get.

"But I feel very welcomed by my fellow athletes and fans. It's great to make a return with 9.93.

"At this stage, I'm not very clear about where I will get to compete this season. But my goal is to compete as much as I can and try to remain healthy."

World athletics' governing body, the IAAF, announced last week that it would not appeal the reduced one-year sanction for doping served by Gay.

Gay was banned in June 2013 after testing positive for a banned anabolic steroid in two out-of-competition tests.

His ban, which was reduced from two years by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) due to Gay's cooperation, ended on June 23.

And the IAAF said that it would not appeal the reduced sanction, calling it "appropriate under the circumstances and in accordance with IAAF Rules".

Gay, who is not allowed to talk about his doping case, admitted to feeling nervous before the race, run in perfect windless conditions and balmy temperatures at the Stade de la Pontaise.

"There were definitely nerves there, first race back!" said the 31-year-old. "I was a little bit nervous but got over that pretty quickly.

"Knowing what I've been through, I've been doing it for nine years professionally, I had to go back to old habits and focusing on myself.

"I think with a few more races, my time will come back down."

Ironically, winner Gatlin has also served a doping ban.

Having won Olympic 100m gold in the Athens Games in 2004, he served a four-year ban between 2006-10 before coming back to win bronze in London eight years later.

"I'm really happy to have put together a season best and I'm really on track to be running fast," said Gatlin, who said he felt he breezed the race.

"Tonight was an easy run and I expected more pressure from the guys, but my body feels great and I'm injury free so I'm running fast."

Third-placed Rodgers (9.98), the newly-crowned US champion, has also fallen foul of drug testers, sitting it out for nine months in 2011 after failing a doping test.

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