Gatlin win ‘not the per­fect script’: Coe

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

LON­DON — Justin Gatlin’s win in the men’s 100 me­ters at the World Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships was “not the per­fect script”, IAAF pres­i­dent Se­bas­tian Coe said on Sun­day.

Gatlin, of the US, has served two sus­pen­sions for dop­ing of­fenses. His vic­tory ru­ined Usain Bolt’s fairy­tale farewell on Sat­ur­day by beat­ing the Ja­maican icon in his fi­nal in­di­vid­ual race.

Bolt fin­ished third, be­hind 21-year-old Amer­i­can Chris­tian Cole­man, whose com­pa­triot Gatlin was loudly booed by the crowd at Lon­don Sta­dium.

“I’m not eu­lo­gis­tic that some­one who has served two bans has walked off with one of our glit­ter­ing prizes. But he is el­i­gi­ble to be here,” said Coe, the head of the sport’s gov­ern­ing body.

“It’s not the per­fect script. I thought Usain was very gen­er­ous with the ob­ser­va­tions he made. That must have been a bit­ter event for him to swal­low. He was big­ger than the mo­ment, and that typ­i­fies his ca­reer.”

Coe re­it­er­ated his sup­port for life­time bans for con­victed drug cheats, but used Gatlin’s ex­am­ple to il­lus­trate how le­gal sys­tems world­wide have frus­trated ef­forts to im­pose more se­vere pun­ish­ments.

Gatlin re­ceived a two-year ban in 2001 af­ter fail­ing a dope test for am­phet­a­mines found in pre­scribed med­i­ca­tion he had been tak­ing since a child for at­ten­tion deficit dis­or­der. His sus­pen­sion was later re­duced to one year on ap­peal.

The sprinter then tested pos­i­tive for testos­terone in 2006 and was sus­pended for eight years, avoid­ing a life­time ban in ex­change for his co­op­er­a­tion with the dop­ing au­thor­i­ties.

That ban, how­ever, was

“I’m not eu­lo­gis­tic that some­one who has served two bans has walked off with one of our glit­ter­ing prizes. But he is el­i­gi­ble to be here.” Se­bas­tian Coe, IAAF pres­i­dent

His­toric throw for China’s Lyu

also halved by an ar­bi­tra­tion panel in 2007.

“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 time we went for an eight-year ban, which would have, in essence, been a life­time ban. We lost that.”

Ef­forts to im­pose lengthy sus­pen­sions on dop­ing of­fend­ers have of­ten been over­turned in courts or by ar­bi­tra­tion pan­els, with ap­peals some­times cit­ing in­con­sis­ten­cies with the World Anti-Dop­ing Agency (WADA) code.

WADA only up­dated its code from Jan­uary 2015 to al­low a four-year ban for first-time of­fend­ers, up from two years.

“I would like to see life­time bans and so would the ma­jor­ity of peo­ple in our sport,” Coe said.

“I’m not go­ing to close the door on life­time bans, but we’ve con­stantly tried for them and lost.”

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