Friday 20 July 2018

Gatlin's samples expected to be re-tested

Justin Gatlin faces fresh probes of past drugs tests after revelations about his entourage this week. Photo: Getty Images
Justin Gatlin faces fresh probes of past drugs tests after revelations about his entourage this week. Photo: Getty Images

Hayley Dixon and Claire Newell

Justin Gatlin's previous drugs tests are to be re-run in the light of a newspaper investigation, sources have revealed.

The 100m world champion has been dragged into a fresh doping scandal after members of his entourage offered to supply performance-enhancing drugs to undercover reporters.

Gatlin, Dennis Mitchell, his coach, and Robert Wagner, an agent connected to him, are already being investigated by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) and the US Anti-Doping Agency (Usada).

A source close to the investigation said: "We have a retesting policy that has been in place for some time now. We know that this is a game of catch-up, and with a world champion or a gold medalist we have a lot of their samples stored for retesting."

The source said that as a result of claims made by Wagner and Mr Mitchell to undercover reporters and published by The Daily Telegraph there would be an "extensive retesting" of Gatlin's samples.

Athletes' samples are now kept for a decade by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), which set up the AIU, meaning that samples are likely to be available from as far back as 2010 when Gatlin returned following a second doping ban.

Gatlin denies that he is currently taking performance-enhancing drugs and released the results of more than five years' of official drugs tests to show "he has never tested positive for any banned substance".

He issued a statement yesterday saying that he is "not using and have not used PED's", adding: "I was shocked and surprised to learn that my coach would have anything to do with even the appearance of these current accusations.

"I fired him as soon as I found out about this."

The news that Wagner had offered to provide prescriptions in a false name and smuggle the substances to the United States to help train an actor into sprinting shape sent shock waves through the world of athletics.

Mitchell, the former Olympic gold medallist who was once banned for doping, and Wagner were also secretly recorded claiming that the use of banned substances in athletics was still widespread as they described how positive doping tests could be avoided.

Informed

Wagner issued a statement saying that he had informed the IAAF Integrity Unit about his comments to reporters in November.

He said: "I was led into making false comments by two make-believe film producers... I foolishly went along with this charade and made up what I said in private conversations because I believed it might help me get a movie contract.

"I am very sorry that other people have been wrongly implicated. I have personally apologised to those sportsmen, families of those sportsmen, and their legitimate representatives, for holding myself out as being involved with them and for seeking to benefit from their hard earned reputations."

Mitchell said that none of his current athletes were using banned substances.

Some leading figures within the sport want to see athletes who have served a drugs ban barred for life from holding positions of power within the sport.

"This is the problem with the sport," said Darren Campbell, Olympic gold medallist. "We can't allow people to come back. There are a lot of people in the sport with reputations that are tarnished and (consequently) people don't believe.

"Why are these people allowed to stay in the sport? The only way we are going to be able to move forward as a sport and create clarity is if they are no longer involved."

Toni Minichiello, Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill's former coach, added: "I think you should get one strike and then you are out. I don't think the rules go far enough. When they ban athletes they don't then look at who the coach is or where they got the (performance-enhancing) drugs from. Agents and coaches should be as culpable."

© Daily Telegraph, London

Telegraph.co.uk

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