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Gatlin back with a bang after ban

ATHLETICS: Former Olympic champion Justin Gatlin claimed victory yesterday in his first competitive race following a four-year doping ban.

The American sprinter, who comfortably won his 100m heat earlier in the day, finished with a time of 10.24 seconds to win the final at the Kuldliiga meet in Estonia. It was some way off his personal best of 9.85. Gatlin, who won gold in the 100m at the 2004 Olympics and landed the 100m and 200m at the 2005 World Championships, was banned in 2006 after testing positive for excessive testosterone.

Bree heads Irish quest for long course medals

SWIMMING: Olympian and Irish record holder Andrew Bree leads the Irish squad's campaign at the European Long Course Swimming Championships, which get underway in Hungary tomorrow.

For the first time, Ireland has two open-water swimmers competing at a LEN European Championships -- Chris Bryan goes in the 10km race, while Andrew Meegan and Bryan are in action in the 5km swim tomorrow. The pool swimming starts next Monday.

Amateur glory in sight for out-of-form Cutler

GOLF: Paul Cutler was attempting to erase the memory of a few disappointing performances this season by gearing up for next week's Home Internationals with a stirring display in the European Amateur Championship, which began today in Finland.

The Portstewart man was not at his best in the European Team Championship last month either. Also included in a strong Irish contingent for this 72-hole contest are Cian Curley, Alan Dunbar, Rory Leonard and National Champion Dara Lernihan.

Meanwhile, Ireland grabbed the early initiative in the Boys Home International Championship over the Southerness course in Scotland yesterday, overwhelming the hosts 12-3 with a confident performance.

Kiwi Brown called in as linesman replacement

RUGBY: New Zealander Keith Brown will run the line when the All Blacks play Australia in the Tri-Nations on Saturday after South African Cobus Wessels was relieved of his duties for a poor performance last week as the assistant referee in New Zealand's crushing 49-28 victory over the Wallabies in Melbourne.

MLB: Detroit 2 Chicago White Sox 12, Baltimore 6 LA Angels 3, NY Yankees 2 Toronto 8, Detroit 7 Chicago White Sox 1, Pittsburgh 7 Cincinnati 6, Boston 3 Cleveland 1, Tampa Bay 6 Minnesota 4, Atlanta 2 NY Mets 3, Florida 1 Philadelphia 6, Chicago Cubs 3 Milwaukee 4, St Louis 4 Houston 18, Colorado 0 San Francisco 10, Arizona 6 Washington 1, Oakland 2 Kansas City 3, Seattle 3 Texas 2, LA Dodgers 2 San Diego 1.