By Damilola Faustino
Justin Gatlin, the world 100 metres champion, is at the centre of another doping scandal after members of his team offered to illicitly supply performance-enhancing drugs.
Gatlin and his team are now being investigated by sports and doping authorities after an investigation by Daily Telegraph uncovered how members of his team offered to provide prescriptions in a false name and smuggle the substances to the United States.
Undercover reporters visited Gatlin’s Florida training camp where his coach and an athletics agent offered to supply and administer testosterone and human growth hormone for an actor training for a film. The products were to be provided via a doctor in Austria. The total fee for the project was to be US$250,000.
Gatlin’s legal representatives announced that he had sacked his coach and revealed more than five years’ worth of official drugs tests to show “he has never tested positive for any banned substance”.
Responding to the allegations, Gatlin said: “I am not using and have not used PEDs. 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. All legal options are on the table as I will not allow others to lie about me like this. I have no further comments as it is now a legal matter. They will next hear from my lawyer.”
IAAF president Lord Coe said: “These allegations are extremely serious and I know the independent Athletics Integrity Unit will investigate in accordance with its mandate.”
In 2001, Gatlin was banned from international competition for two years after testing positive for amphetamines. Gatlin appealed and the appeal resulted in an early reinstatement by the IAAF.
Again, on August 22, 2006, Gatlin accepted an eight-year ban from track and field, avoiding a lifetime ban in exchange for his cooperation with the doping authorities.
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