Monday 25 September 2017

Drug cheat should have been kicked out, insists Coe

Coe blamed the World Anti-Doping Agency and legal systems worldwide for Gatlin being able to return after two doping violations. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Coe blamed the World Anti-Doping Agency and legal systems worldwide for Gatlin being able to return after two doping violations. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Ben Rumsby

The fallout from Usain Bolt's nightmare farewell 100m intensified last night after Seb Coe declared Justin Gatlin should been thrown out of athletics when he was convicted of being a drugs cheat.

Jessica Ennis-Hill also called for lifetime bans for dopers such as Gatlin, who was roundly jeered again when Coe presented him with his World Championships gold medal almost 24 hours after he cemented his status as the sport's pantomime villain.

Coe, the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, blamed the World Anti-Doping Agency and legal systems worldwide for Gatlin being able to return after two doping violations.

Admitting it was "not the perfect script" but denying it was "the worst result ever" for a sport beset by doping scandals, Coe told the BBC's Sportsweek programme: "I'm not eulogistic at the thought of somebody who has served two bans in our sport walking off with one of the biggest prizes our sport has to offer."

Gatlin's first drugs ban in 2001 was halved from two years following an appeal that a positive test had been due to medication he had been taking since childhood, when he was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.

His second suspension, after testing positive for testosterone in 2006, was originally eight years but was halved again on appeal because of the circumstances of the first case.

"There have been two bans in the past," Coe said.

"One got watered down, which made it very difficult for the second ban.

"The second ban, we went for an eight-year ban, which would have, in essence, been a life ban. We lost that."

Coe blamed Wada for failing until 2015 to make first-time doping offences carry a suspension of up to four years, something he indicated would have made it easier to ban Gatlin for longer second time around.

Coe added that he would be willing to push for it again in the wake of Gatlin's win.

"I'm never going to set my face (against) or close the door on the thought that we could end up one day with a lifetime ban," he said.

Bolt refused to join in the backlash against Gatlin after Saturday's race, despite having previously called for dopers to be banned for life.

After receiving the heptathlon gold medal from the 2011 worlds originally denied her by a Russian drugs cheat, Ennis-Hill said: "If we have lifetime bans, we don't find ourselves in this situation and we wouldn't have the booing."

Study

A recent study on the long-term effects of testosterone found that mice still benefited from being given it years later, raising fears the same applied to Gatlin, whose third coming saw him run faster than ever.

Coe urged national federations last year to be brave enough to stop selecting former drugs cheats for the Olympics and other major events.

The Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, also called for life bans for dopers following Bolt's defeat, something that would also have affected compatriots Yohan Blake and Asafa Powell.

"It's the only way you're going to fully ensure that people don't cheat in sport," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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