IAAF says Gatlin's coach could face ban - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

IAAF says Gatlin's coach could face ban

By Paul Logothetis 01/08/2006 06:22:15 AM Comments (0)

Justin Gatlin's coach could face a two-year ban if the Olympic and world champion sprinter is found guilty of a second doping violation, the sport's international governing body said.

"Once we have enough evidence to prove it, then we have the power to prosecute him," IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said. "He would face a two-year suspension that is in line with the regulations of our anti-doping code."

Gatlin said Saturday he had been informed by the US Anti-Doping Agency that he tested positive for testosterone or other steroids after a relay race in Kansas in April. He said he has never knowingly taken banned substances.

Gatlin's coach is Trevor Graham, who is currently under investigation by authorities for his links to the BALCO doping case.

The International Association of Athletics Federations will only act should evidence link Graham to any doping violations and USADA decides not to take action against him, Davies said.

A man who worked with Graham told a San Francisco grand jury and investigators that he supplied performance-enhancing drugs to the coach and many of his athletes, including Marion Jones, Tim Montgomery, C.J. Hunter and Michelle Collins, the New York Times reported last week.

At least six athletes who trained under Graham have received doping suspensions. He has always denied direct knowledge or involvement.

Christos Tzekos, former coach of Greek sprinters Kostas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, was suspended for four years in March 2005 by the Greek federation. He was sanctioned for failing to properly notify the runners of a doping test, but was cleared on separate allegations of distributing banned substances.

Thanou and Kenteris were given two-year bans for missing drug tests before the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The IAAF said it gave little credence to Graham's claim that Gatlin was the victim of a massage therapist who rubbed testosterone cream on his legs without his knowledge.

"We have a strict liability rule that what's in your body is your responsibility, so unless there was an independent witness who saw everything clearly there really isn't a possibility that there would be something in that," Davies said.

If Gatlin is found guilty, he would face a life ban and the loss of the world 100-metre record. He equalled Jamaican Asafa Powell's mark of 9.77 seconds in May, a month after the positive test. Gatlin would keep his Athens 100-metre gold medal and world 100 and 200 titles from 2005.

Gatlin was suspended in 2001 after testing positive for an amphetamine found in medication he was taking for attention deficit disorder. The IAAF gave him early reinstatement, but said the suspension remained on his record and he would face a life ban for any second violation.

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